Scranton was a hit away from being in business in the fourth inning of Saturday’s Class A state championship game in Fayetteville against the Taylor Tigers. They were a hit away in the third inning, too.
As it turned out, Taylor pitcher Lindsey Downs was on her game, and she had plenty of help behind her as the Tigers shut out the Rockets, 3-0, at Bogle Park, in the 1A state championship game.
“We knew they were really good defensively; we knew we were going to have to earn our hits,” Scranton coach Dustin Peters said. “But we just didn’t hit it very well today.”
Scranton, which had enjoyed a magical state tournament run, with nail-biting wins over Concord and Calico Rock, missed a couple of golden chances in Saturday’s loss. Rachel Siebenmorgen’s hustling infield single and a missed catch by Taylor shortstop Preslie Morgan, gave Scranton runners at first and second with nobody out in the third.
After a sacrifice advanced the runners to second and third, Downs struck out Jessica Barr for the second out, and got Kristy Geels to fly out to left to end the inning.
Taylor (30-4) pushed across its first run in the fourth when Laura Lane doubled with one out, took third on Jasmyn Copeland’s bunt single, and scored on Morgan’s sacrifice fly.
The Rockets (25-8) had another chance in their half of the fourth. Amber Fox led off the inning with a walk, and Kristy Kohler followed with a smash down the right field line that curled just foul.
Instead of having runners at second and third with nobody out, Downs eventually retired Kohler on a smash to first base for the first out. More Video: Tom Wing, director of the UAFS Drennen-Scott House in Van Buren talks about a Mountain Howitzer replica.
“We had something going when we had Fox on, and the line to right field that was just barely foul,” Peters said. “That would have been huge.”
The following inning, Morgan made another great defensive gem to end the Rockets’ fifth. With one on and two outs, Morgan smothered Barr’s grounder up the middle ticketed for center field and reached over and fed second baseman Kamryn Lee the ball for the final out.
Taylor added to its lead with a pair of unearned runs in the seventh.
For Scranton, which completed another deep post-season run, reaching Bogle Park for the second time in four years, replacing five seniors will be tough, Peters said.
“The last four years we’ve made it to at least the semifinals,” the coach said. “Two years ago we made it to the finals (and won). We’ve had a really good run. We’ve still got a lot of these kids back, and we have a good group of freshmen.
“We plan on making another trip.”