The Lady Wildcats carried a lead into the into the fifth inning before falling behind and staging a major comeback attempt in the seventh before falling to the Lady Hurricanes 6-5 in the District 5-AA semifinal.
“We didn’t make plays and you are not going to win if you don’t make plays. Jordan (Triplett) threw well enough to win. I felt if we could hold them to seven runs we would have a chance to win and she held them to six runs,” said Polk coach Bill Triplett.
The Lady Wildcats came back to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the second when Lilly Cuzzort reached on an error and later scored in a Briana Muller single. Polk took a 2-1 lead in the fifth in a Kaitlyn Williams single and Danielle Harvey triple.
The Lady Canes came right back in the bottom of the inning to load the bases on back-to-back-to-back bunt singles and another single that scored two runs. The fifth straight hit for East Hamilton came in the form of a squeeze bunt that plated a fourth run.
“We can’t argue the call at home plate. Whether she was out or safe, we can’t argue that call. We can’t argue that call at second base because we gave them an extra at bat. All we have to do is field a ground ball at first base and get the out. Was it a bad call? I think it was but I’m not going to blame anything on it. But it did change the whole complexion of the game,” said Triplett after the game. “That gave them time to turn their lineup over and get their 1-2-3 hitters up to hit. I told the girls I can’t argue the calls if we make the play at home plate or if we make the play at first. We get the out right there. There is no reason to argue the call if we get that out. All we have to do is field the ball, get the out and we have two outs.”
East Hamilton added two more in the bottom of the sixth and led 6-2 when Polk came to bat in the top of the seventh.
With one out, Harvey beat out an infield hit and stood on first with two outs when Sydney Sloan stepped to the plate and cranked her 12th homer of the year, a towering shot over the left-center field fence to make it 6-4. Cuzzort then stepped in the batter’s box and gave the Lady Wildcats a final shot at the win with a home run of her own that cleared the left-field fence. But the blast proved to be the final hurrah for Polk when East Hamilton pitcher Maria Walshe got a strikeout to end the game.
“Three years in a row we have been to this point. But, you have to give East Hamilton credit. They’ve got pretty good athletes and they are a better hitting ball club than Polk County. I don’t have any reservations about saying that. I knew we had to play well to win and we had a chance to win, that’s all you can ask this time of year,” said Triplett.
EAST HAMILTON 6, LADY WILDCATS 5
Polk County 010 010 3 — 5 6 1
East Hamilton 100 032 x — 6 12 2
WP: Maria Walshe. LP: Jordan Triplett. HR: Sydney Sloan, Lilly Cuzzort (PC). 3B: Daniell Harvey (PC). 2B: Jordan Triplett (PC); Kelsey Payne (EH). Highlights: Shaliyah Geathers 4-4, Payne 2-4, Taylor Harris 2-3, Amber Phillips 2-3 (EH); Harvey 2-4 (PC). Records: Polk County 24-14; East Hamilton 23-14.