By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
June 5, 2013 — West Carter’s softball team did not like the draw for the 16th Region tournament. The Lady Comets faced Ashland, a team that beat them 10-0 and 17-1 during the regular season.
After last Monday’s first round game, the Kittens could be echoing West’s grievances after the Lady Comets took them to the brink of ending their quest for five straight 16th Region Championships. Ashland defeated West 3-2.
“We played our hearts out,” Manager Greg Reynolds said. “I told them after the game that they have nothing to be ashamed about. We just came up one run short. That is about as good as we can play.”
But Ashland would flex their muscle, with McKenzie Vanover putting the Kittens ahead 3-2 on a three-run homerun to be the difference in the ballgame.
“It was supposed to be up and away,” Reynolds said. “It was belt high. It hung and that happens.”
But for the first five innings, everything was going right for West. Megan Centers put the Lady Comets on the board with an RBI single to center that scored Alyssa Shelton in the first frame. Leatha Reynolds doubled in the third inning, scoring Courtney Reynolds, who led off with a single and had a stolen base to put the Lady Comets up 2-0. Reynolds would add another base hit in the fifth inning.
They were playing solid defense, including a fly out, throw out for an inning ending double play from centerfield to first base because an Ashland runner didn’t tag.
“We played very loose and sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves,” Reynolds said. “I just told them to go out there and play. Everyone picked Ashland to win this game, so there was no pressure on us. We just went out and played.”
But the sixth inning doomed the Lady Comets after a leadoff walk and a single helped set up Vanover’s round tripper that went a long way out of left field.
The Lady Comets would not go quietly in the seventh after Brooke Adkins reached base on an infield single to represent the tying run. But a double play and a strikeout ended the ball game to give Ashland its third win over West this season.
“The girls proved to themselves that they can play with anybody,” Reynolds said. “In the past games, our body language showed they thought they couldn’t win that game. But they were loose and they now know they can play with the top teams.”
The Lady Comets program said goodbye to four seniors, Centers, Brooke Callihan, Makaela Buckler and Courtney Reynolds.
The Kittens would go on to win their fifth straight 16th Region Championship.
Mackenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.