MASON – For the third time in the past four years the Franklin Monroe softball team’s season ended in the district finals as the Lady Jets lost to undefeated Williamsburg on Monday at Mason.
Franklin Monroe had some strong moments in Monday’s game but faced a big deficit for most of the evening as Williamsburg scored seven runs in the top of the second to take a lead it held the rest of the day.
“I thought we competed,” Franklin Monroe softball coach Mike Morris said. “They had that one big inning there. They hit. We got runners on base. We just couldn’t get that big hit or capitalize on it.”
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Franklin Monroe had trouble retiring Williamsburg in the second as the Wildcats scored seven runs on eight hits in the frame.
Morgan Gullett started Williamsburg’s second-inning rally with a leadoff double. After a popup to second for the first out of the inning, the Wildcats recorded six consecutive hits with a single by McKayla Kirschner, a RBI single by Megan Ogden, a single by Rachael Tidwell, a RBI single by Faith Golden, a two-RBI double by Peyton Fisher and a two-RBI double by Kacey Smith to make it 6-0.
Franklin Monroe got the second out of the inning, but Williamsburg tacked on one more run with a RBI single by Gullett to increase the Wildcat lead to 7-0.
The Jets wouldn’t back down, though, and got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Kennedy Morris drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a single by Emilee Morris, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Nychelle Cool and scored on a RBI single by Allie Armstrong, reducing the deficit to 7-1.
However, Williamsburg quickly increased its lead again with two runs in the fourth inning. First Smith hit a two-out solo home run to make it an 8-1 game. Then Carly Wagers doubled, took third on a pitch in the dirt and scored on an infield single by Gullett, increasing the Williamsburg lead to 9-1.
Franklin Monroe scored its final run of the game in the fifth inning. With two outs Emilee Morris was hit by a pitch and Cool drew a walk then Armstrong hit a RBI single that scored Taylor Hackney – Morris’ courtesy runner – to make the score 9-2.
In the sixth inning Williamsburg scored the game’s final runs with a two-run home run by Wagers, scoring Fisher, who led off the inning with a single.
Williamsburg ended the game with 11 runs, 17 hits and one error. Franklin Monroe had two runs, four hits and no errors. The Jets erased two runners on the base paths by throwing out a runner from the outfield and turning a 4-6-3 double play.
“Defensively I thought we played really well with them,” Coach Morris said.
Armstrong led the Franklin Monroe offense with two hits and two RBIs. Kennedy Morris walked twice and scored a run. Emilee Morris singled and was hit by a pitch. Morgan Bingham had a hit, Hackney scored a run, and Cool and Kinsey Goins both drew walks.
Emilee Morris pitched the complete game for Franklin Monroe, striking out five without walking a single batter.
Williamsburg’s Smith struck out eight, walked four and hit one batter in six innings pitching for the Wildcats. Wagers struck out the side in her lone inning of pitching.
“Their pitchers … we knew we were going to struggle,” Coach Morris said. “Their pitchers throw hard, but we started timing them up. We put the ball in play. What can you ask?”
Monday’s loss ended the season for Franklin Monroe and the high school careers of the Jets’ three seniors – Carrie Baker, Morgan Bingham and Morgan Booher.
“They’re going to be hard to replace,” Coach Morris said. “Booher wasn’t feeling good through half of the season, but she battled through it and came up big tonight on a big catch. Bingham’s leadership at shortstop. Carrie Baker in my opinion is the best catcher in the area so she’s definitely going to be a hard one to replace.”
While it will be tough to replace those three, Coach Morris is confident that the Jets will find a way to do it and will make it back to the district tournament again.
“These seniors have been to this game three out of four years so any time you can make it to districts you’re doing something good,” he said. “They’re going to be missed, but I think we’re going to see that team again next year.”