(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
ORAN -- All season long the Chaffee Lady Devils have relied on their offense to give them the upper hand.
On Wednesday, however, it just didn't show up.
Chaffee ended their season with a 6-3 defeat to Neelyville at Oran High School during the first round of the Class 1, District 1 tournament.
"Every time we come to the plate I expect a rally out of us," Chaffee coach Shawn Powderly said. "We've been swinging them well all year long and I know we're capable at any time of busting out five or six runs. We never could quite get that third or fourth hit strung together. (Neelyville) played pretty darn good and we just couldn't string enough hits together."
Fourth-seeded Chaffee, who ended at 11-13 this year, totaled five hits to fifth-seeded Neelyville's seven. They came out of the gate quickly by scoring the games first run after a lined shot over the head of Neelyville's center fielder from senior Sierra Miller.
"We came out ready to play as we do any day," Powderly said. "It was nice to jump out on top. We had a couple of big hits. A senior stepped up and smoked a double and we was off to a good start."
The Lady Tigers added three runs in the top of the third highlighted by a double off the bat of Ashley Law.
Law scored later in the inning on a bunt by Ashley Bolt. The throw to first to try and get Bolt out wasn't handled cleanly, which allowed Law to cross home safely.
"The biggest thing was, we had a couple of chances to make plays," Powderly said. "Unfortunately, we didn't. There were a couple of miscues and they did a good job of putting the ball in play off our pitcher. They just made a few more plays than we did.
"We've been swinging them well all year and that's been the strength of our team," said Powderly. "We needed more from our pitching and defense. (Neelyville) just out-played us."
Neelyville added their fourth run in the top of the fifth when Law scored on a groundout.
The Lady Devils cut their deficit to one run in the bottom of the sixth.
Kaitlyn Miller started the rally by beating out a throw to first. Sierra Miller drove in her second run of the day with a triple to right-centerfield.
Taylor Fodge made it 4-3 with an RBI single.
Chaffee felt the momentum suddenly start to shift after slimming Neelyville's lead. But, the Lady Tigers took it right back in their half of the seventh.
Law, who finished with three hits including two doubles, started the inning with a single and quickly advanced to second on an outfield error.
With two outs recorded, Neelyville's Emily Eaker pushed Law across with a single to right field. Chelsea Dale drove in Eaker in the next at-bat with another single.
Chaffee's offense couldn't muster any late rallies in the bottom of the seventh ending their season.
"The top of the seventh took the wind out of our sails a little bit," Powderly said. "We went down swinging in the ninth, though. (Neelyville) did a great job and deserved the win. We hit some balls well but they made some good defensive plays and their pitcher did a good job of keeping us down."
Sierra Miller led Chaffee with two hits, a double and a triple.
Kaitlin McFerron took the loss for Chaffee pitching all seven innings.
"Overall, I think it was the most wins we've had since I've been here in five years," said Powderly about his thoughts on the season "It wasn't quite the way we wanted it to end but we played some good ball. We're losing two good players (Sierra Miller and Fodge). They were our three and four hitters so hopefully we can get over that hump next year."
Neelyville moves on to tackle the top-seeded Naylor Lady Eagles today at 2 p.m.
ORAN -- The Delta Lady Bobcats upset the third-seeded Van Buren Lady Bulldogs 4-1 in the opening round of the Class 1, District 1 tournament on Wednesday at Oran High School.
Macey Parks, who finished with two hits, scored the Lady Bobcats' first run in the first inning.
They later tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth inning on three consecutive hits from Tori Burton, Cierra Coomer and Chasity Taylor. Taylor drove in Burton with a single, Coomer came home on a fielder's choice as was Taylor.
Van Buren pushed their lone run across in the bottom of the fifth.
Delta will play the second-seeded Oran Lady Eagles today at 4 p.m.