WSN softball ends season in area tournament Thursday
The history-making season for the W.S. Neal Lady Eagle softball team came to an end Thursday in Jackson with a 3-1 loss to the Thomasville Lady Tigers.
W.S. Neal began the day in the elimination bracket defeating Monroe County 10-1 to set up a rematch with Thomasville—a team they lost to in their first game of the tournament Tuesday 11-1.
In the game with Thomasville, W.S. Neal scored first but gave up three unanswered runs to lose 3-1 and end their season with a 19-12 record and one game shy of reaching the championship game of the area tournament and qualifying for the regional tournament next week in Gulf Shores.
“In game one, we adjusted to the timing really well of their pitcher from the games on day one,” W.S. Neal Lady Eagle head coach Jeff Haney said. “I thought we hit the ball pretty well and we scored some runs. We scored enough to win but I would have liked to have made that a five-inning game. We got the victory though and that is what we needed to do to survive. I was pleased with that win. I think everyone was looking ahead to Thomasville. I think we all knew we could beat Monroe County and we started to look ahead. That may have been why we didn’t score the runs to finish it early.”
In game two, Haney said when you make errors against a good team like Thomasville they are going to beat you.
“We played really well and had a lead and we make an error or two and they score runs,” Haney said. “It just kills you. I hate it for our seniors. Once again, our seniors are a very special group to me. I hate it had to end this way for them. The rest of the team has another year to go and to improve.”
One area for W.S. Neal that has been steady all year was on the pitching mound and Haney said Kaitlin Hadaway’s pitching in the four tournament games was great Tuesday and Thursday.
“Our pitching was great throughout the tournament,” he said. “I can’t say enough how well Kaitlin pitched in all four games. She actually reached 250 strikeouts for the season during the Monroe County game. That is quite an accomplishment in my opinion.”
As for the 2012 season overall and the team and the seniors, Haney said he thinks this season has really set the bar for W.S. Neal softball.
“We had 19 wins, which is probably almost more than double the wins we had in the past,” he said. “Last year we had 12 wins and that was the all-time high. So to get 19 this year is a big improvement. Just the level of ball we are playing now is different from years ago. That is from this group of seniors. They got that started. It has been a great year. We won the Escambia County Tournament and we beat T.R. Miller for the first time and twice this year and we beat Jackson in an area game. We won some big games. Baldwin County was another big game. We made errors in some when we didn’t need them and it just didn’t go our way here at the end today. They did a good job. Dropping down to 3A next year is going to give us a different look with some different teams. I think we are going to be really successful.”
W.S. Neal is losing six seniors in Jade Danley, Autumn Hinote, Paige Grantham, Anna Nelson, Lauren Boatwright and Raley Boggs.
WSN 10, Monroe County 1
In their first game Thursday in the area tournament, the Lady Eagles lived to play another day as they took down Monroe County 10-1.
W.S. Neal lead 3-0 after the first inning and 5-1 after the second inning before plating three in the third and two in the sixth to get the win by nine.
Hadaway went seven innings on the mound and allowed one hit, one unearned run, walked three and struck out nine.
At the plate, Ke Ke Floyd had two singles and two RBIs and Hadaway had a double and one RBI.
Kaeli Brown had a single and one RBI along with Anna Nelson. Paige Grantham had two singles and two RBIs while Lauren Boatwright added a single in the win.
Thomasville 3, WSN 1
In their second game with Thomasville, Thomasville broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with two runs and held W.S. Neal scoreless the remainder of the game to get the win by two and end W.S. Neal’s season.
The Lady Eagles of East Brewton struck early in the game as they scored one run in the first inning, but Thomasville tied the game in the third inning off a two out single.
In the fourth, with the game tied at 1-all, Thomasville lead the inning off with a single but then scored a run off a W.S. Neal error to take a 2-1 lead with a runner with no outs. Thomasville would get their second run of the inning off a fielder’s choice to take the 3-1 lead and eventually get the win.
W.S. Neal was held to only two hits in the loss with Hadaway and Boatwright both having a single.
Hadaway took the loss going six innings allowing five hits, three runs, one earned, walked one and struck out three.