Lady Tigers drop first two games in state tourney

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 20, 2005

MONTGOMERY – The Demopolis High School varsity softball team dropped their first two games, 3-2 and 2-0, to be eliminated from postseason play on Thursday afternoon.

In game one, the Lady Tigers made a valiant effort to keep the game deadlocked at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning with two away, but fell slightly short as the Cubs scored from third base on an errant throw to second that rolled into right field as Alexandria safely plated the winning run.

“It’s disappointing to lose, but we’re in Montgomery,” DHS head coach Wayne Harris said.

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“There are 58 teams at home that would change places with us in a heartbeat.

A ball one way or the other in either game and we win.

We had opportunities and we didn’t capitalize.”

Brittany McGee picked up the loss for Demopolis in game one, pitching a complete game.

Demopolis took an early 1-0 lead but Alexandria came back to tie the game at 1-1 after one inning of play.

After four innings, the game was again tied, this time at 2-2.

And the score remained the same until the Cubs crossed home plate for the winning run.

“We will miss both Brittany [McGee] and Brittany [Thorne] with both of them going to Livingston next year and McGee going to play,” Harris said.

“They’ve been with me since they were in eighth grade and they are the only two that survived out of their class.

There were four others that came and tried it and went different avenues.

“I just told the girls to ‘hold your head up’ because we are in Montgomery.

And 33-23 is not a bad record – we won more than we lost.

We won one tournament plus the area tournament, swept our sub-state – and I told them that when we walk out the door, let’s yell at Bibb [County] and tell them to win it because if we can’t take the blue map home, let somebody from over there [in West Alabama] take it home.”

With the game one loss, DHS dropped into the loser’s bracket to face-off against Wilson in game two.

In the second game, the Lady Tigers had their chance to take a solid lead in the sixth inning as the bases were juiced with no one out.

However, Wilson’s defense was spectacular (especially with the umpire calls going in Alexandria’s favor) as they were safely able to escape the inning without giving up a run.

After two errors put Demopolis runners at first and second, Sara Davis successfully laid down a bunt single to load the bases.

Molly Barnes followed Davis by hitting into a fielder’s choice that nailed Brandi McGee at home plate in a controversial call as Wilsons’ catcher’s foot appeared to not be touching the plate.

Morgan Patterson then stepped to the plate and hit a line drive to the third baseman, who caught the ball for the second out before stepping on third just as Hunter Lewis was returning to the bag, only to be called out by the third base umpire for the final out of the frame.

“You don’t want to go back and dwell on one particular play because innings one through seven of each games there were opportunities that we wasted offensively and there were defensive times when we put runners on but got out of a lot of jams,” Harris said. “Brittany pitched a good game in the first one and Sara threw a good game in the second.

Sara is a freshman and a lot of people forget that.

And we’ve got Brandi McGee who will be back next year to pitch and so that gives us two quality players that can get us back here to Lagoon Park.

Because the third weekend in May, it’s the only place to be.”

Wilson answered the Lady Tigers sixth inning with a rally of their own in the bottom of the frame, successfully plating two runs on three hits as Alexandria held on for a 2-0 win.

“Wilson got runners on and they got a hit when they needed a hit,” Harris said.

“Alexandria did the same.

We didn’t play bad, we just had one little miscue here and there [and it cost us the game].

I told them that I thought we were physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared – it just wasn’t in the cards.”

Although Demopolis lost in day one action of the 2005 state tournament, the season was still a success and many people did not expect the Lady Tigers to be making a return trip to the tourney.

“Well, sometimes the game is a game of inches,” senior Brittany McGee said following the Lady Tigers game two loss.

“If we could have hit the ball a little bit farther then it would have been a double.

We hit the ball, but we just hit it right to someone and a lot of times we were too aggressive to get hits.

You know, when you want something so bad, you do whatever it takes.

And that’s kind of how we are.”

Demopolis senior Brittany Thorne echoed McGee’s comments, adding the fact that making it this far but falling short will give the younger players on the team a greater desire to return.

“They’ve been close enough now to have been to state and now they know what they want,” Thorne said.

“And it gives you more desire.”

With the pair of losses, the Lady Tigers ended their 2005 season with an overall record of 33-23.

“They’ll be back next year,” Brittany McGee said.

“They are going to step up and lead.

A couple of them have already talked about going out and practicing [for next season] and getting in some conditioning time.

“We were all talking before we came here about how all the young kids don’t know what it feels like.

We’re kind of bringing up the rear for what it feels like and next year it will be the freshman class when we won it.

You just have to understand what it feels like and you have to want it.

All your hard work will pay off.”