It wasn’t supposed to end so abruptly for the #4 seeded Lamar Lady Savages as they entered the 3A state softball tournament with high expectations to make a strong bid for the state crown. But it was not to be as some key errors resulted in an upset by the #13 Sterling Tigers. The loss ended Lamar’s shining season, one of the best they have ever had under the tutelage of Coach Mindy McCoy.
McCoy was philosophical after the upset stating, “I’m really proud of the girls and the way they played the season. Winning a district and regional title is something to be proud of. The state tournament did not end the way we wanted it to, but these girls have worked hard and done a great job this year. We will miss our seniors and wish them the best of luck in their future.”
One senior, in particular, that McCoy will miss is the her four-hole hitter Haleigh Prosser, a Wiley student, who competed well all season and hit a late homerun in the Sterling game. It was a little too late by then, but it was nice to see the senior get another dinger in her prep career.
Sterling sent a very harsh message to Lamar’s Laci Coen who was in the circle to start the game when they belted out two homeruns in their first three at-bats. Lamar answered as Coen helped herself from the one-hole getting a single and then advanced to second on a throwing error from third. Miranda Mitchek then sent Coen to third on a nice sac bunt. Morgan Reed, the Savages’ center fielder, got the RBI single for Coen hitting a blast out to left-center field. That would be all Lamar could muster as they trailed, 2-1.
No one scored in the second, but Lamar got the upper hand in the third stanza after Coen kept the Tigers scoreless. With two outs, Coen pulled a walk. Mitchek then hit a blast to right field that got over the right fielder’s head. Coen scored and the speedy Mitchek pushed clear to third. Reed, again, came through with her second RBI of the game, this time to Mitchek. Lamar had the lead, 3-2, and would keep it until the harsh fifth inning that proved to be Lamar’s undoing.
Coen hit the first batter, Riley Nelson, with the pitch. Sterling moved Nelson on a sac bunt where Lamar got the courtesy 4-3 out. Mitchek then made a nice catch for out number two. And that’s when the wheels fell off. First a throwing error from third and an ensuing fielding error resulted in three unearned runs. Lamar had put themselves in a hole after the fifth, trailing 3-7. Based on the tight defense Sterling was putting on, this was a huge margin to overcome.
The top of the Savage order then went down in order, and, unfortunately, the bleeding from the fifth inning turned into a blood bath as Sterling scored five more runs in the top of the sixth; again, with two outs on the field. The Tigers chased Coen out of the circle after a double, hit pitch, and three singles in fast succession. Dayle Trout came in relief and gave up a single and a double before Prosser finished the inning getting a ground out at first.
Prosser’s homerun came after the Savages had dug themselves in a deep hole trailing, 10-3. She was first up in the bottom of the sixth as she belted the ball over the right field fence. After that, Lamar went down in succession and was looking at one more at-bat to save their season.
But it would not be, as another Lamar error resulted in another run. Lamar then went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, and that, as they say, is all she wrote.
Sterling ended up with 12 runs on 12 hits and had 3 errors that really didn’t come in key situations that hurt them. Lamar had 4 runs on 8 hits and three errors. They left five aboard. Reed and Prosser had tremendous days at the plate. Reed went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and Prosser was 2-for-3 with 1 RBI.
Lamar will be hurt at graduation as they will lose Prosser, shortstop Julie Aguirre, Reed in centerfield, catcher Maddie Buxton, third base Alexa Comstock and Karina Lozano, and Aubrey Lawrence. The bulk of the returning starters are juniors this year including the pitching staff. Both Eads players, Mitchek and Kaylee Wilson, are juniors and will return to the diamond in Lamar next year.
Sterling would be eliminated by Faith Christian, 9-8, in the state quarterfinal round. The eventual state champion was Strasburg getting their fourth school softball title defeating the #1 seeded Brush group, 10-2, in the championship game.