Big inning leads to playoff exit for Dutchtown
Last Friday, two of the hottest softball teams in Class 5A met in first-round playoff action as Dutchtown hosted Sulphur. The Lady Griffins had won 14 of their previous 16 games, and the Tors had won 15 of their last 17.
Dutchtown carried a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning, but it quickly evaporated with a six-run flurry by Sulphur. The Tors then added another five runs in the seventh to run away from the Lady Griffins, 11-3.
“We made a few errors, and they got some hits, so that’s what got us in that inning,” Dutchtown head coach Nancy Ensminger said. “We didn’t make the adjustments at the plate. They pretty much quieted our bats, and that’s the one thing we’ve done all year: We’ve hit the ball and scored some runs.”
The first runs of the game were scored by Dutchtown, and they scored them in unconventional ways.
In the bottom of the first, Katelyn Bessonette led off with an infield single. Anna Jones then put down a bunt. She was safe after an errant throw to first base. That miscue allowed Bessonette to score, and Jones reached third.
Kassidy Hood then walked. Once on base, she stole second. As the catcher attempted to throw her out, Jones alertly sped home to give the Lady Griffins a 2-0 lead.
Dutchtown pitcher McKenna Rarick cruised to the fifth inning. At that point, she had given up just one hit.
However, Trinity Trahan led off the fifth with a triple, and she later scored on a bunt from Lanie Burleson. Burleson was joined on base by Bailey Chaisson following a walk.
And then Abbi Massey gave Sulphur the lead with just one swing of the bat. She blasted a three-run homer over the wall in centerfield.
That was followed by back-to-back singles by Chrislyn Ryan and Brayley Richard. Both players came around to score on a double by Madison Chretien. It gave Sulphur a commanding 6-2 lead.
Dutchtown got one run back in the bottom of the frame.
Jones drew a two-outs walk and advanced to second after a single by Maddie Mitchell. Jones later scored on a single by Hood.
But Sulphur put the game away in the seventh.
They quickly loaded the bases when Raygan Brown was hit by a pitch, Chretien walked and Trahan singled.
Burleson then drove one run home, and Massey sent home the other two.
Finally, Ryan came up with an RBI single, and another run scored when the ball was mishandled in the outfield.
“That game is not going to define this team at all,” Ensminger said. “We lose one senior this year, and we’ll bring back something even better next year. It just sucks to end it like this. I don’t think 11-3 defines who we are.
“They were aggressive and did the things they needed to do. They got some hits and we made some mistakes here and there, and that’s why it got ugly.”
Dutchtown had no answer for Massey. She went 3-3 with two walks, a home run and five RBIs.
In defeat, Mitchell went 3-4 for Dutchtown, and Rarick was 2-3. Hood was 1-3 with a walk. She also produced their only RBI of the game.
Ensminger is disappointed with how the season ended, but she’s optimistic about the future. The Lady Griffins only lose one starter in Skylar Boyd.
“I would have liked to have gone further. It is what it is, but I’m looking forward to the future,” Ensminger said. “We have one kid we’re losing, and I know we’ve got something behind her. It’s wide open, but I already have my eye on some replacements there. We’re bringing everybody else back. Hopefully, they’ll take this game and it will drive them to do better.”