Lady Knights fall in sectional series
In one of the more interesting sectional softball tournaments in recent memory, Tyler Consolidated gave Magnolia all they could handle.
The Lady Silver Knights took Game 1 in a pitcher’s duel before taking a strong lead in Game 2, but the Lady Blue Eagles were able to take advantage of errors and come back to win the series.
The opening game was a low-scoring affair reminiscent of the rivals’ first game of the season in which the Blue Eagles won 1-0. This time around, it was Tyler Consolidated scoring a solo run to win the game 1-0.
Designated as the visiting team in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Silver Knights scored the aforementioned run in the top of the third as Stephana Wilcox was awarded first on a base on balls. Mallory Hammond served as a pinch runner and went to second on a sacrifice by Sami Jones and scored singled to right field.
Kaitlyn Goudy pictched one of the finest games of her career as she struck out 12 batters and allowing only one hit in the shutout.
“We did what we needed to do,” said Coach Charlene Galluzzo. “We played good defense and put runners where we needed to. We executed real well. Three up, three down a bunch of times. They did everything we asked them to do.
“Before we stepped on the field, I told them we prepared for this all year. All those close games that we had, all those tough games, it was all in preparation for [Friday]. Our big goal was to jump on them and get that first game and we did.”
In Game 2, Tyler Consolidated reverted back to being the home team and nearly closed out the series.
Magnolia would strike first in the second as Lyndsay Miller scored on an RBI by Alexa Jo Hanna, but the Silver Knights bats picked up in their half of the frame starting with senior Rachel Yoho who walked. She advanced to second on a sacrifice by Heather Lynch. Kayla Fisher and Stephana Wilcox walked to load the bases and set up Sami Jones who singled and drove in two runs after Fisher slid in safely in a close call at the plate.
Wilcox and Jones would score on another single, this time from Christy Jones, to make the score 4-1 and give the Silver Knights all of the momentum.
Magnolia, however, wouldn’t give up and chipped away at the lead through the remainder of the game. The Blue Eagles proceeded to score their next two runs in the third and fifth inning, before tying the game and taking the lead in the sixth aided by a couple of errors. Another run in the seventh set up the 6-4 final score.
Goudy had eight strikeouts in the nightcap, bringing her total to 20 in 14 innings of work on the day.
“We had silly mistakes that ended up costing us dearly. That’s been how our season has gone,” said Galluzzo. “If we play good solid defense and get hits here and there, we’re going to pick up a W. We could have shut this thing down. Friday was the day it had to happen.”
While the two teams were done for the day, they wouldn’t get much rest as the rubber match came less than 24 hours later.
Ultimately that would favor the Blue Eagles. Having more than one strong pitcher at their disposal, Magnolia was able to keep a fresh pitcher in the rubber match while Tyler Consolidated once again relied on Goudy.
Magnolia was able to pound out a few hits, and soon enough took a 4-0 lead and eliminated the Silver Knights from post-season play.
“We had the momentum and Saturday we didn’t have it and came in flat,” added Galluzzo.
The loss ends one of the more successful seasons for the Silver Knights as they finish with the most wins in any season with 13. They were second in the LKC North Division, but bad weather prevented the conference championship from being played.
“I couldn’t be prouder of a bunch of girls,” said an emotional Galluzzo. “They did everything we asked them to do this year. They gave us 100 percent all the time. Our seniors were teachers. They were coaching kids when we weren’t around. They were working with kids in batting cages and as a result they got to be real close as a team.
“Those kinds of things, what they learn about themselves, will carry them a lot farther in life than the wins and losses we posted this season because they know they can overcome obstacles.”