The Oran High School Lady Eagle softball season came to end on Saturday when they lost in the district championship game against the Scott City Rams 11-9 in Advance. Oran finished the season 17-1.
The game, which started on Wednesday before it was suspended after two innings due to wet field conditions, saw the Eagles jump out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Sydney Kern led off with an infield single, that was followed by a Kaylee Payne triple. Leah Cauble was hit by a pitch and then stole second. Payne scored on a wild pitch and Cauble moved to third. Claire Ramsey and Cauble then executed a safety squeeze to put Oran up by 3.
Scott City came right back however as they followed a lead-off home run with a walk, 2 errors and another walk to chase the Eagle starter, Sam Welter. Payne took over and allowed a single and 2 walks, before a pop out on the infield and then a nifty 1-2-3 double play ended the inning but 5 Rams had crossed.
The Eagles wasted a lead-off single by Kenzie Graviett in the bottom of the second and the game was stopped due to the rain and wet conditions.
When the game resumed on Saturday, Welter was back in the circle. She retired six straight during the third and fourth innings and only allowed a walk to start the fifth before two ground ball outs and an infield pop out.
Meanwhile, Oran's offense mounted a comeback in their half of the third. Three singles in a row by Payne, Cauble and Jessie Long tied the game at 5.
The Eagles took the lead in the fifth. Katelyn Streeter worked a full-count walk with one out, stole second and came home on Kern's rbi single. Kern was out trying to advance to second, however. Payne then hit her second triple of the game and came home on Cauble's single up the middle. Oran led 7-5 heading into the sixth.
But, much like the second inning, the Rams scored 5 to take the lead 10-5. This time they had 4 walks, 2 singles and a double.
They added an insurance run in the seventh on 2 hit batsmen, and 2 walks, before Graviett came in to get the final out.
Oran refused to go quietly, however, as 4 consecutive hits plated 2. Cauble doubled, went to third on Long's bloop single to right. Ramsey singled to score Cauble and advance Long to second. A Welter double scored Long and the Eagles had the potential winning run at the plate with no one out, but the next three went down in order to end the game and the season.
Coach Jim Eftink said, "I can't say enough about the comeback in the seventh inning. A lot of heart was shown there. Down by four runs and the ladies didn't give up. We had some big hits in the seventh that put us in a position to tie things up. We had the tying run at second when the game ended. This group will not ever give up and will fight to the very last out. It was important to see that at the end of this game because they never faced that type of adversity during the regular season."
"Well, it was a tough loss and a disappointing end to what I thought was a great season. Not only did the team have an undefeated regular season, they were dominant against every opponent out there. This game came down to two bad innings. Erase those off the board and we'd still be playing. We sorta shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times."
Payne, Cauble and Long each had 3 hits. Cauble drove in 2, as did Ramsey. Kern had a pair of hits. Payne had 2 triples, Cauble and Welter both had doubles.
Welter suffered the loss to finish with a 10-1 mark. She went 5 2/3 innings, gave up 11 runs, 9 earned on 5 hits and 11 walks. She struck out 2. Payne went 1 inning allowing 1 hit and 2 walks. Graviett went 1/3 of an inning with a strikeout.
Eftink said, "I'm proud of this team and their accomplishments. They have a lot to be proud of. To go a whole season and not be beaten until the district championship game is something they can hang their hat on."