PIKEVILLE — Two questionable calls in the sixth and seventh innings put a dagger in the heart of the Belfry Lady Pirates softball season.
Belfry nursed a two run lead all the way to the sixth inning when many Pirate fans felt the victory was stolen away by two bad calls. Belfry ultimately lost in the seventh inning to the Magoffin County Lady Hornets with a final score of 3-2 in the second round of the 15th Regional Tournament on Tuesday evening at Shelby Valley High School.
Belfry’s first at bat was just enough to show the Lady Hornets that they were there to play some softball. With one out on the board Belfry had loaded the bases. Clean-up hitter Taylor Maynard stepped to the plate and hit a sacrifice grounder that got lead-off hitter Kyra Stafford across the plate. Belfry held on to a 1-0 lead until the fifth inning.
The game turned into a pitching battle between Belfry’s Kendra Gannon and Magoffin County’s Laylee Burchell. In the fifth inning Belfry’s offense came to life again when the Lady Pirates recorded three straight hits beginning with Kylea Stanley’s double shot into center field. lead-off hitter Stafford added a single and Gannon knocked in Stanley to give the Lady Pirates a two run lead.
In the fifth inning the Lady Pirates had three hits and left two batters stranded on base but the two run lead seemed to be holding until the tables turned. Gannon ended the fifth with a smoking strikeout.
Savannah Wilson landed on base with a walk to begin the sixth inning, she made it to third on a Maynard single in the infield. Alex Smith stepped to the plate and laid down a beautiful bunt that rolled down the third base line. Smith was thrown out at first and Magoffin County sent the ball flying back down to home plate trying to stop Wilson from scoring. The play at the plate was close and the umpire called Wilson out at home. The action continued as Emily Deaton, who was courtesy running for Maynard; the catcher, was going for third. Magoffin County’s catcher, Erin Bolen, started to move over top of Wilson to make the play at third when Wilson was getting to her feet, the two players were tangled and tempers flared. After the two player scuffle the umpire restricted Wilson to the Pirates dugout instead of ejecting her from the game.
With Wilson’s departure Deaton moved into center field, Kailee Rash moved to right field and Paula Dotson moved to first base.
Magoffin county would come back to tie the game at two runs apiece in the bottom of the sixth with a score on a wild pitch and an RBI. Gannon closed the inning with a huge strikeout while the Lady Hornets had the winning run on third base.
Belfry had three hits in the seventh inning but all of them were caught by the Lady Hornets. In Magoffin county’s next at bat the winning run, Alexis Montegomery, was hit by a pitch and was awarded a free trip to first. Burchell nailed a shot deep down the left field line that bounced out of bounds when the ball hit the ground. The umpires called the ball fair and the Pirates went crazy.three batters later Ceslee Howard hit a single over the first baseman’s head that resulted in an RBI to end the game.
Gannon finished her senior season with a spectacular pitching performance, she had 12 strikeouts, three walks;all in the last two innings, one batter hit by a pitch; the winning run, and she gave up seven hits. The Belfry Lady Pirates committed three errors during the game.
After the game Lady Pirates head Coach Ryan Chapman said, “I thought the girls battled back really hard, it’s big time to come back out in the bottom of the sixth with one out and get two straight outs to put us tied in the seventh.”
“Outside of three seniors we have started five freshman this year, this is the toughest schedule we have had , in my tenure I know of, a 20-17 record is nothing to hang your head down about, I am very proud of them,” said Chapman.
Scores by inning:
Belfry: 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 – 2 5 3
Magoffin: 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 – 3 7 1
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)