Stars fall short of state berth

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By Jeff Moreland

Just a little short.


That’s how things ended for the Washington County 11-12-year-old all-star softball team in Columbia Monday night.

As the team faced Russell County for the second time in the district tournament, a win meant a trip back home to play in the state tournament, which will be hosted at Idle Hour Park. A loss just meant a trip back home.

Washington County lost its final game 6-5, and looking back, head coach Christy Baker said it was a matter of not coming through with runners on base.

“We left six runners on base in the first two innings; we left three on each inning,” she said. “We were not hitting at times we needed to hit, and we had too many errors. You can’t do that in a close ball game like this.”

After trailing 5-2 heading into the fourth inning, Washington County’s Madeline Borders reached with a one-out walk, and Lizzie Riley, who handled the pitching for Washington County, was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. A fielder’s choice by Trinity Baker moved the runners to second and third, and both scored as catcher Kate Taylor reached on an error to close the gap to 5-4.

Russell County picked up one more run in the home half of the fifth to make it 6-4, and Washington County had its work cut out for it heading into the sixth inning.

Riley led things off with a single, then advanced on a walk by Trinity Baker and a passed ball by the Russell County catcher. Riley would score on a Kate Moore groundout to bring the score to 6-5, and the tying run stood on third. Unfortunately for Washington County, the game and the season would end on a groundout to first base, and as coach Baker said, it was leaving runners on base that would prove costly to her team. But despite the loss, Baker had no problem with her team’s effort, and she was especially happy with their determination down the stretch.

“I’m proud of them. They worked hard and didn’t quit; they didn’t give up,” Baker said.

She added that she got a very good outing from Riley, who scattered just five hits over six innings. The Washington County defense committed four errors on defense, and Baker said that was also costly to her team.

“Lizzy has been our more consistent pitcher, so we went with her tonight, and she did a really good job,” Baker said. “She did great, we just didn’t hit behind her, and we made too many errors. The little stuff is what gets us every time.”

Despite scoring five times in the game, Washington County had just two hits on the night, one from Riley and the other from Fran Taylor, who got the team’s first hit with two outs in the fifth inning. Russell County helped Washington County by three errors in the field, along with seven walks and three batters being hit by pitches.

In the first two games, Washington County won the opener over Russell County, 11-8 behind a sixth-inning rally. Washington County scored five runs in that sixth frame to seal the win with Trinity Baker in the pitcher’s circle. At the plate, Baker added a single and a pair of doubles to help her own cause. Kate Taylor went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI in the win, and Madeline Borders went 2 for 3. Catherine Mullholland, Kennedy Cochran, Kate Moore and Lizzie Riley added one hit each in the win.

In their second game, the 11-12-year-old all-stars fell to Marion County by a score of 10-2. The offense produced six hits, with one each coming from Riley, Trinity Baker, Kate Taylor, Madison Baker, Kate Moore and Mullholland.