The Lady ’Cats had hits from six different players, led by Casey Bucy, Lacey Fritz and Kat Moreno, who had a pair of hits each. Bucy also pitched four innings in the shortened game, keeping the Lady Colonels scoreless and hitless.
“I think the kids just played together, hit together, did a lot of little things that made big things, and that’s just what we have to do. We [were] up in the dugout. Everybody’s behind one another, and like I said earlier, we had been flat. We played a tough schedule. Sometimes the kids get down on themselves,” Woodland coach Colman Roberts said. “Tonight, I didn’t have to make any speech, [it’s a] crosstown rival and I think we were ready to play. They’re a good team, well-coached. It was a good win for us, puts us second seed in the region tournament so that’s big, too.”
On the other hand, Cass coach Greg Hight felt his team was not as ready to play as it should have been.
“We gotta be more prepared as a team. We [were] all excited with our JV win there and we kind of lost focus of what we [were] supposed to be doing. And [Robert] did a good job, they came up and tried to take the bunt away, but like I told the girls that’s when we gotta hit it [to] the corners. … We did it once the whole game, I think,” High said. “We just went flat. We went flat and couldn’t stop the [downward] spiral.”
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, the Lady ’Cats plated their first run when Cheyanne Burt hit a scorcher off her bat, which Lady Colonels first baseman Kelsey Holoway knocked down. Pinch runner Katie Harris — in for Fritz, who led the inning off with a single — darted to home plate as Holoway chased to ball just beyond the foul boundary before running to record the out at first. Courtney Bailey got her team out of the second inning without any further damage by inducing a pop fly.
The Lady Colonels’ Ashlynn Russell smoked a ball to first with two outs in the top of the third and reached base on an error when Woodland failed to field the ball. Russell made it to second on a wild pitch, but remained there as Bucy recorded the final out of the inning on strikes.
In their half of the inning, the Lady ’Cats began to pull away as they were able to bat around. Sydney Flowers led off with a sharp single that Cass second baseman dove to reach but could not get out of her glove quick for a play. Taylor Braselton then got on base courtesy of a Lady Colonels error. Bailey Roberts, who had squared up to bunt a couple of times, busted a run-scoring single to left field give Woodland two runners in scoring position and a 2-0 lead. A wild pitch allowed Braselton in, and Bucy’s hit to left made it 4-0. Fritz walked to put runners on first and second. Kat Moreno hit a two-run single to left before the Lady Colonels recorded two straight outs.
Unfortunately for Cass, it did not escape with a six-run deficit as freshman Bridgett Hampton — whose aunt Diana Wimpy is Woodland’s all-time home run leader — turned on a Bailey pitch. The ball sailed over the left-field fence for an 8-0 Lady ’Cats’ lead.
Despite placing herself in some trouble by hitting one batter and walking two others in the fourth, Bucy kept a zero in the run column by getting a pop out to leave the Lady Colonels with bag full of runners.
Woodland tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fourth as Bucy’s bloop single, Moreno’s fielder’s choice as well as a wild pitch and an error brought the game to a close.
Bucy finished with three strikeouts, three walks and two hit batters.
“We got out of a couple jams, and she’s getting stronger as she goes and getting better every day so we just have to move on and get ready for that region tournament next Saturday,” Colman Roberts said.
Bailey gave up 10 earned runs on nine hits and two walks. She had two strikeouts.
“She’s a good pitcher; she makes us ground out a lot,” Roberts acknowledged. “The biggest tonight [is] we hit together; we were patient, didn’t let her get us out with her changeup.
“We just did a good job all the way around. Defensively, [we] did good, had timely hits, and we just gotta keep that going.”
Hitters for the Lady ’Cats included Bailey Roberts, 1 for 3, RBI, double; Bucy, 2 for 3, two RBIs; Fritz, 2 for 2, walk; Moreno, 2 for 3, three RBIs; Hampton, 1 for 2, two RBIs, home run; and Flowers, 1 for 2.
Woodland (13-14) plays next at Hillgrove as it closes the regular season with a non-region game. The Lady ’Cats currently sit in the No. 2 spot in their sub-region, Region 7A-AA.
Woodland may need some help from its rivals. Cass (9-17, 1-6) hosts Sequoyah in the final sub-region game for both teams.
Hight hopes to get his team ready for the start of the Region 7-AAAA tournament on Oct. 1.
“I’m disappointed we played that way after what we’ve played [like] the last 11 games. [We] turn our season around and then turn around and have a game like that,” he said, referencing the Lady Colonels’ 6-4 record in their past 10 games entering Thursday’s contest. “We gotta come back … with Sequoyah Tuesday and try to get ourselves back in position in the playoffs. Next Saturday is all that matters anyway.”