But, there are a few kinks to be ironed out before that can happen.
“I’m pleased with the whole outcome, but we got a long ways to go,” said Woodland coach Colman Roberts, whose team had won four titles in a row before a 9-2 loss to Calhoun on Saturday. “There [are] a lot of things we gotta work on and get better at. Hitting in certain situations is huge [and] understanding the game and the little tiny things.
“We hit the ball well and Casey [Bucy] pitched well.”
The Lady ‘Cats won five straight games to start their latest run in host Model’s annual tournament, which began with three games on Friday. Woodland beat Murray County, 16-0; Sonoraville, 3-1; Coahulla Creek, 10-0; Rome, 14-1; and LaFayette, 4-3.
The narrow victory over the Lady Ramblers forced the Lady ’Cats to muster a rally.
“The LaFayette game was good. That was the first time we were down,” Roberts said. “We came back [in] the bottom of the fourth to win and LaFayette’s a good team.”
Woodland, however, could not complete another undefeated run in the tournament, falling just shy of a five-peat.
“I was hoping to perform a lot better against Calhoun,” Roberts said. “They’re very good. I think we can play with ’em, but obviously the score doesn’t show that.”
Roberts will not allow his team to fret over one loss during the first weekend of the season, though.
“I told ’em yesterday, ‘It’s not the end of the world.’ We’ve won that thing a couple years in a row or whatever,” he said, before recounting how a similar loss nearly seven years ago fueled an eventual Elite Eight Lady ’Cats team. “That team that went to Columbus, we took the same approach. … We got better and ended up going a long ways.”
“We can do it. We just gotta do it together and hit as a team,” added Roberts. “I know it’s early. We got [road games with] Sequoyah Tuesday and Northwest [Whitfield] Thursday. That’s gonna be tough.”
During the two-day tournament, Taylor Braselton went 8 for 13 (double, triple, 10 runs, three RBIs, six walks); Kat Moreno 8 for 14 (double, six runs, three RBIs); Lacey Fritz 6 for 14 (three doubles, seven runs, eight RBIs, three walks); Bucy 7 for 15 (two doubles, six runs, five RBIs); Bailey Roberts 7 for 13 (three runs, four RBIs); and Cheyanne Burt 5 for 13 (double, two RBIs).
Below are capsules from Saturday’s games.
Woodland 14, Rome 1
The Lady ’Cats opened play Saturday by scoring their second-highest total of the weekend.
Woodland plated five runs in the first inning and seven in the second before the Lady Wolves scored in the top of the third.
The Lady ’Cats pushed a couple more runs across the plate to end the game via run-rule in the fourth inning.
Winning pitcher Casey Bucy one-hit her second opponent in four games while striking out one in two innings. Brooke Rogers pitched the other two innings as she struck out two and allowed one walk and two hits.
Leading hitters for Woodland were Sydney Flowers, 1 for 3 (double, RBI); Bucy, 1 for 2 (double, RBI); Bailey Roberts, 3 for 3 (RBI); Cheyanne Burt, 1 for 2 (double, RBI); Jessie Michaels, 2 for 2 (double, three RBIs); Darby Cagle, 1 for 3 (RBI); Taylor Braselton, 2 for 3 (double); and Lacey Fritz, 2 for 2 (two doubles, four RBIs).
Woodland 4, LaFayette 3
The Lady ’Cats relinquished an early 2-0 lead to add to the drama of their second game Saturday, but one of Woodland’s veterans came to the rescue after the Lady Ramblers scored once in the second and two times in the third to grab a one-run lead.
Braselton, Woodland’s junior shortstop, delivered a game-tying triple and then scored the game-winning run on Kat Moreno’s RBI hit.
Bucy held on for the win. The senior starter gave up one earned run on seven hits and three walks while striking out one in five innings.
Woodland’s leading hitters were Braselton, 1 for 2 (triple, RBI); Moreno, 2 for 2 (RBI); Bucy, 1 for 2; and Fritz, 1 for 3 (two RBIs).
Calhoun 9, Woodland 2
Despite the Lady ’Cats stirring semifinal win, the championship battle went to Calhoun as the Lady Yellow Jackets took a 4-1 lead after one inning and added three more runs in the top of the fourth to go up 7-1.
Woodland scored once in the bottom of the fourth before Calhoun tacked on two more runs in the fifth to provide the final margin.
Bucy pitched five innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and one walk. She had two strikeouts.
Braselton (1 for 3, one run), Moreno (1 for 3), Fritz (1 for 3), Bucy (2 for 3, RBI) and Burt (1 for 2, RBI) were the Lady ’Cats leading hitters.