Andes, Roxbury girls fall in sectional tourney
By Julia Green
It was the same nemesis that struck down both the Andes and Roxbury girls in their quests for a sectional title last week. For Andes, defeat came in the quarterfinal round at the hands of defending champion Afton, while the Roxbury girls advanced to the semifinal before falling to the same team.
“Playing Afton is always a bummer whenever I see the sectional brackets,” said Andes Head Coach Tamara Snyder, whose familiarity with Afton exceeds simply its reputation and traces back to her own high school career. “Their players play softball year-round and at Andes we’re scraping to field a team. We went to Afton with one thing in mind: we were going to play against a quality team.”
The Andes girls faced the top-seeded Crimson Knights in Afton last Tuesday following a first-round victory over Gilboa, but the ninth-seeded Mountaineers, who were missing their senior class, were unable to keep their season alive. Starting pitcher Karli Tait, who tallied 132 strikeouts and 28 walks, first baseman Rachel Andrews, who led the Andes offense with a .564 batting average and starting shortstop Jenna Weaver were absent due to a senior trip, and Head Coach Tamara Snyder did some juggling to build her infield.
Mariah Ruff, who is usually behind the plate for the Mountaineers, started in the pitching circle, while Gina Tait took her place at catcher.
“I had a completely different infield,” Snyder said. “Ashley Terry was the only player playing her position at third.”
Kelsey Little filled in at first base and Marissa Heannings played second, while Desirae Coss took over at shortstop.
“Overall, I was happy with their performance,” Snyder said. “We made some mental errors toward the end of the game, but they were all really beating themselves up.”
Ruff tallied three strikeouts and seven walks, which Snyder said she was pleased with, considering that Ruff had thrown only one inning all season prior to Tuesday’s sectional match.
The Mountaineers started the game on a positive note in the top of the first, when Little connected for a hit and got on base.
“That was huge for us,” Snyder said. “Just to get a hit, I was extremely happy about.”
The Mountaineers were unable to take full advantage of the base runner, however, as the next batter popped up and Little was thrown out in a double play.
The Afton offense wasted no time making its presence known, tallying five runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Mountaineers’ offense was unable to counteract the damage in the top of the second, and the Crimson Knights put up four more runs in the bottom of the second to take a 9-0 lead.
A 13-run third inning put the game out of reach for the Mountaineers, who were limited to just two hits by Afton’s pitcher.
“When we got there, one of their assistant coaches gave me the lineup and told me that their starting pitcher was injured,” Snyder said. “Their starting pitcher was an eighth-grader. So when she told me she was throwing a seventh-grader, I was pretty excited. Let me tell you, if the Delaware League had an arsenal of pitchers like Afton has, we could all be competitive with Afton – and that tells you how developed their program is, throwing a seventh-grader at the varsity level.”
Andes’ only other hit came in the top of the fourth inning, when Ruff connected for a double. She was able to advance to third base, but the offense was unable to drive her home.
Andes, which fielded a team for the first time in three years, finished the season 9-5 overall. They will lose three seniors to graduation.
The Roxbury girls advanced to the semifinal round of the 2010 Section IV Class D tournament following an 8-4 win in Jefferson last Tuesday. It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams, and the second Roxbury victory; the Rockets handed Jefferson its only other loss of the season earlier in the spring.
As it turned out, the Rockets earned the win in the first inning, putting up five runs in the top of the inning to put the JayHawks in the hole early. Jefferson’s pitcher loaded the bases and Roxbury scored five runs on five plays at the plate, a number of which resulted from wild pitches and passed balls.
Jefferson was unable to get the bats going in the bottom of the inning, but was able to keep the Rockets’ offense at bay in the top of the second. The JayHawks tallied a run in the bottom of the second, but Roxbury posted two more in the top of the third to make it 7-1.
Starting pitcher Heather Davie earned the win for the Rockets and led the Roxbury offense, going 2-for-3.
The fifth-seeded Rockets were unable to keep the ball rolling on Saturday, however, as they fell at Afton, 13-0. The Crimson Knights put runs on the board early – three apiece in the first and second innings – to take an early 6-0 lead over the Rockets.
Roxbury was unable to counter the Afton offense, which tallied five runs in the fourth inning.
They will lose three seniors to graduation: Davie, Rachel Meckes and Haley Walcutt. The Rockets finished their season 13-4.