The Lewisville Lions out-hit the St. Joseph’s Knights on Wednesday night, but three early errors dug too deep of a hole for the home team and they fell 14-6 in the 1A softball playoffs.
The loss ends the Lions’ season at 22-6.
Lewisville had 16 hits to 14 for the Knights but trailed 8-0 after an inning and a half and had to play catch-up all night long. Stacie Rollins was 4-for-4 at the plate for the Lions.
“The last two games the errors just put us in a hole defensively, and it was hard to come out of,” Lewisville coach Jerry Thomas said. “It got a little bit out of hand.”
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Thomas was still proud of what his young squad accomplished this season.
“Losing six starters and bringing a young squad in with four returning seniors, I don’t think anybody really expected us to get back deep like we did,” Thomas said. “I told the girls to be proud of that because we came within one game of the Upper State championship. The future looks bright.”
Starting pitcher Madison Vinson retired the first two St. Joseph’s batters of the game, but the Knights then strung together four straight hits to take a 3-0 lead. The big play was a Michelle Malsch double that was just off the glove of centerfielder Autumn Jordan that allowed the first two runs to score.
In the top of the second, Lewisville’s defense let it down. The leadoff hitter reached on an error by second baseman Mya Davis. After a sacrifice bunt, a ground ball to third was fielded nicely by Emily Morton, but her throw to first was too high and allowed the runner to reach and a run to score. Carolyn McCullough followed with an RBI-double to left to make it 5-0 and chase Vinson from the game after an inning and a third. Three of the six runs against her were unearned, and all six probably should have never scored.
The first batter that Chloe Thomas faced grounded back to her, but the throw couldn’t be handled at first base and McCullough scored. Sydney Richardson then ripped a triple to center which plated another and made it 7-0. The disastrous inning was punctuated with a wild pitch by Thomas that allowed Richardson to race home for the 8-0 lead.
The Lions tried to answer back in the home second, but didn’t get as much as they might have hoped. They started the inning with three straight hits from Amber Bass, Morton, and Rollins. Bass ended up on third when the left-fielder misplayed her base hit, and Morton’s infield hit to second brought her home with the first Lewisville run. With runners on first and second and no outs, the inning looked to hold more promise, but the next three batters popped to second, fouled off a bunt with two strikes, and flew to center respectively to end the uprising.
Thomas held the St. Joseph’s lineup to one hit in the third through fifth innings, but the Lewisville offense was unable to string together enough key hits to make much of a charge. It stranded at least one runner in every inning and nine for the game.
Malsch, the Knights pitcher, continuously jammed the Lions’ hitters inside as they tried to cover the plate for the pitches on the outside corner. The result was a lot of cue shots off the handle of the bat that produced harmless dribblers to the infield.
“We were trying to worry so much about the outside pitch that she was jamming us inside,” Thomas said. “We had to try to take one away and then she’d bring it in on us.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Jordan reached on an infield single to shortstop and Davis drove her in with a base hit to left. But the visitors answered right back with two in the top of the sixth, including another RBI-triple, this one from McCullough.
Morton singled and scored on an error in the home sixth, but Lewisville stranded two more runners and had a runner nailed at the plate trying to score from second on a bunt base hit by Lauren Crocker.
St. Joseph’s got four insurance runs on five seventh-inning hits. McCullough finished it with a two-RBI single to right that gave her four RBIs on the night.
The game was summed up perfectly as Davis led off the bottom of the seventh with a shot off the fence in center. Becky Lapinski played it perfectly off the fence and nailed Davis at second. The Lions put together four more hits in the inning for three runs. Rollins had an RBI-base hit and Tori Ernandez’ double to the fence in right-center brought in two.
St. Joseph’s 1, Lewisville 6
Michelle Malsch. Madison Vinson and Chloe Thomas. WP - Malsch. LP - Vinson. 2B - Malsch, Carolyn McCullough, Abbie Salerno (SJ). Tori Ernandez (Lew). 3B - Sydney Richardson, McCullough (SJ). Leading hitters - SJ: McCullough 3-5, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 R; Richardson 2-4, 3B, RBI, 2 R; Malsch 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 R; Salerno 2-3, 2B, RBI, R, SAC. Lew: Stacie Rollins 4-4, RBI, R; Mya Davis 2-4, RBI; Thomas 2-4, R; Amber Bass 2-4, 2 R; Emily Morton 2-4, RBI, R. LOB: SJ - 4, Lew 9. Records - St. Joseph’s 23-9; Lewisville 22-6.