A season filled with thrilling comebacks and highlight-reel defensive plays turned to a finale of sobs, hugs and memories for Walker Valley Monday.The late-inning heroics the Lady Mustangs enjoyed …
A season filled with thrilling comebacks and highlight-reel defensive plays turned to a finale of sobs, hugs and memories for Walker Valley Monday.
The late-inning heroics the Lady Mustangs enjoyed over and over during the course of the season right up to the district championship was nowhere to be found Monday at Larry Haney Field. The Feisty Fillies managed only two hits and no one crossed the plate in a 4-0 season-ending loss to Warren County in the Region 3-AAA softball quarterfinal.
"We had opportunities, but we never really got an inning where we made consistent contact with the ball. She (Warren County pitcher Madison Hollis) did a great job of keeping us off balance. You just have to tip your hat to them. They played a great ballgame and we never made the adjustments at the plate," said Lady Mustangs coach Lauren Limburg. "Our defense played really solid, but you've got to score to win. You can't leave a goose egg on the board."
Junior left-hander Natalie Pruitt took the hard luck loss for the Lady Mustangs, pitching a five hit game. Pruitt retired the first eight batters she faced and had a string of nine straight out from the third to the sixth innings.
The win by the Lady Pioneers (19-10-1) avenged a loss last season where they lost at home to the Lady Mustang (28-10) in the region semifinal.
"I can't say enough about this team. I'm so proud to be their coach and so proud of the young ladies they are. I know our seniors are going to go on and do some great things," said Limburg. "I'm excited for next year and what the girls coming back are going to bring, but it hurts right now because it's the end of the season. I'm just very proud to be their coach."
After a lead-off single by senior left fielder Carissa Frost down the left-field line in the bottom of the first inning, the Lady Mustangs were held hitless by Holllins until the fifth when Allie Geren beat out an infield single.
The Lady Pioneers committed two errors and Hollis gave up three walks over the course of seven innings, but Walker Valley was unable to take advantage, leaving seven runners on base.
Warren County got an RBI double in the third, a single that scored a run in the sixth and a final RBI hit in the seventh. The Pioneers tacked on a final run on a wild pitch and completed the shutout with three straight outs in the bottom of the inning to move to the region semifinal.
After a season that saw the Lady Mustangs produce an impressive 28-10 record, including a District 5-AAA championship, Limburg said she is proud of all the team — in particular seniors Abbey Davis, Hannah Kate Singleton, Sydney Everett, Riley Suits, Bailey Smith and Kaylee Hughes — has accomplished and is excited for the group coming back in 2020.
"The girls really believe in the family atmosphere here at Walker Valley. They really are a family and they love and support each other. They never quit. Even in this last game they never quit. Our seniors and leadership is so strong. I can't say enough about the leadership on our team. It starts with them and trickles down to the rest of the team. They bought in and I'm proud of them and I'm very proud to be their coach," said Limburg, battling back emotion.
"They are great kids and I know they are going to be successful in whatever they do. We have some going to play college softball and going to school all over. But, I know wherever they go and whatever they do they will be successful and they will always be a Lady Mustang."
Warren County 001 001 2 — 4 5 2
Walker Valley 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
WP: Madison Hollis LP: Natalie Pruitt. 2B: Hailey Wood, Emily Mikkola, Elia Atterson (WC). Highlights: Wood RBI, Rhealee Johnson RBI, Calyn Damon RBI (WC). Records: Warren County 19-10-1; Walker Valley 28-10.
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