SHAWNEE — The Calera Lady Bulldogs’ first trip to the State Slow-Pitch Softball Championship unfortunately ended with their first game Tuesday on a 6-0 loss to Davis.
The Lady Wolves lost 7-5 in the next game to Dale, which got beat 8-0 by Washington in the championship. Calera and Washington advanced from the same Regional bracket, where the Lady Warriors’ precision place-hitting helped them to a 12-1 victory over the Lady Dawgs and a 10-0 win over Silo.
In Tuesday’s game, Calera got base hits from Ricki Harper and Ashlynn Cooper with two outs in the bottom of the first. But both were left on base.
The Lady Dawgs defense squeaked out of the top of the second as Davis had runners at first and third. Then the offense went three and out.
Calera set down three Lady Wolves in a row too though in the top of the third, beginning with a diving catch by pitcher Laney Rogers. But the Lady Dawgs were retired in order with the nine-, 10- and one-hole hitters taking their turns to close the frame.
Diving stops by second baseman Raylee Rogers and short stop Taylor Pickett helped keep the Lady Wolves from crossing the plate with two left on base in the top of the fourth. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the inning, Calera showed some patience with the Davis pitcher’s high-arc style. Cooper, Raylee Rogers and Laney Rogers took three consecutive walks to load the bases. But Maddie Partain’s grounder to third was turned into the third out.
The only points of the game came in the top of the fifth for Davis. The Lady Wolves put together six hits in the frame, along with a walk and a fielding error, to score a half-dozen and leave two on base.
Calera started the bottom of the stanza with singles from Bailey McGuinness and Kaylee Ervin. The next three batters were put out as runners stood on second and third.
Davis didn’t really threaten any more runs in the last two innings. Neither did Calera. Partain led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to shallow left-center. But the heartbreaker ended on a strikeout and double play.
Cooper led the offense with a pair of singles and a walk. Harper, McGuinness, Ervin and Partain each contributed a single.
“I’m proud of them,” said Calera coach Randy Ellevold. They’re an excellent group of girls. I wouldn’t trade for them.
“I’m a little disappointed because we didn’t play our best ball today. We did get a lot of defensive plays that mattered.”
Pitcher Laney Rogers hit the dirt to make a catch in the top of the third. Senior short stop Taylor Pickett got dirty a time or two to make stops. Sophomore second baseman Raylee Rogers dove several times to keep the ball in the infield, at least twice being able to get off a throw in time for the out.
“We had a good season. It’s nothing to hang our heads about.”
And with Calera graduating only one player, although Pickett is a valuable one, Ellevold is hopeful about the future.
“We have a younger team, so maybe we can get back here next year.”