Tuesday, the Lady Eagles (0-6 in Region 6A-A) hosted Darlington (4-3, 4-2 in their region) and did everything but win as they fell 7-4 to their region foes despite collecting 11 hits, one walk, two reaching bases on error and one batter hit by pitch.
To top it off, even though they trailed in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Eagles loaded the bases and had the winning run at the plate before failing to get the timely hit needed to pick up a win.
“Offensively we played a great game,” head coach Kandi Bruno said. “We fell behind early but came right back and put three runs on the board to take the lead.
“Defensively we were pretty solid for the majority of the game, but we had that one bad inning where our kid dropped a fly ball in left field.”
She said she got the matchup she wanted in the bottom of the seventh when the Lady Eagles loaded the bases and Nikki Burkhalter batted.
“I was fully expecting for us to tie it at least. She has been hitting the ball really well. She did her job well. She put the ball in play, but she just happened to hit it right at somebody.”
The Lady Tigers struck first on the evening, scoring a run in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead.
Excel answered in the bottom of the frame when Amanda Haney singled to shallow center, went to third on a double by Erin Brown then scored on a sacrifice by Emily Willingham. Brown scored on a single by Eden Fulmer, as did Willingham.
Both teams went quietly in the second inning but Darlington plated two runs in the top of the third, scoring them on three hits and one walk.
The Lady Tigers got offensive in the top of the fifth as well, scoring two runs after an error, and adding a sixth run in the sixth frame.
Excel scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth, when Fulmer singled her way on, stole second and third then crossed home plate courtesy of a sacrifice by Carly Redd.
Darlington added its final run in the top of the seventh.
Stephanie Rosser took the loss for Excel, pitching seven complete innings.
“[Stephanie] did a good job for us,” Bruno said. “They were able to put the ball in play, but nothing was hit too hard, so that’s always a good sign. Stephanie had a couple of strikeouts and pitched out of some really tough spots, too. That’s all you can really ask of your pitcher.”
Offensively, the Lady Eagles were led by Haney, 2-of-4; Brown, 2-3 with one hit by pitch; Willingham, 2-of-4, one reached on error; and Fulmer, 3-of-4.
Excel next plays again Thursday, when it visits North Cobb Christian.