One bad inning proves costly for girls' playoff hopes
The St. Helens Lady Lions played one of their better games of the season against the No. 2 PIL team, but came up short with a 6-4 loss to Franklin.
St. Helens had a 2-1 lead in the contest going into the bottom of the fourth, but gave up three hits, two walks, and made two errors plus some mental mistakes that cost them four runs and eventually the game.
'Payton Albertson pitched a really good game,' St. Helens coach Jeff Edwards said. 'We just didn't give her enough support to win the game. We had a good scouting report, she kept the ball down and located it on the corners, and she did a good job of executing the strike zone.'
Franklin would have just five hits in the game, fewer than the Lady Lions' seven, and also committed four errors. However, the Quakers bunched most of their hits, walks, and St. Helens errors in the one frame for most of their runs.
'We gave them a good game,' Edwards said. 'They made enough mistakes to lose the game, too. We didn't quite, but the third inning killed us.'
Karli Edwards led off the game for the visiting Lady Lions with a base hit, and Courtney Buerke was safe on a sacrifice bunt and error that moved Edwards to third. Edwards beat a throw home when Buerke stole second. Coach Edwards tried to replicate the play when Myranda Hamilton reached base, but Buerke was out.
Franklin knotted the score in the bottom of the frame with a run off a walk, an error and a single.
St. Helens came right back with another run to move in front again. Brooke Cathers reached base on an error, and Alyssa Rodriguez tripled to score her.
The score remained 5-2 until the sixth when St. Helens added one more run. Abbie Hanson nearly got on base with a line drive that bounced off the pitcher, but the throw was barehanded to first by the shortstop for an out. Cathers then singled, and Kayla Beeler followed with a single. Rodriguez walked and the bases were loaded. Edwards followed with a walk to send one run home. St. Helens didn't send a runner when the ball got by the catcher after another fake throw, as Edwards felt it was a risky move at that point. A pop-up and ground out ended the inning.
Franklin added one more run after a runner reached base on an error, advanced to third, and scored on a play at first.
St. Helens got another run in the last inning when Hanson pounded a homer over the left field fence.
St. Helens finished the season 7-15, with a 6-8 league record. 'It's the best finish we've had in years,' the coach said. 'It was not a bad season. I think this is a good stepping-stone. Beating Sandy and taking (league leader) Rex Putnam to eight innings was big for the program. We played teams a lot closer than we have in the past,' he added.
The team loses just two players to graduation, has an injured player returning, and some incoming players that should help the team this next season.
'A lot of our kids are playing on high level teams this summer. That should help us next year,' Edwards said.
Franklin 6, St. Helens 4
St. Helens 110 001 1-4 7 4
Franklin 104 001 x-6 5 4
Payton Albertson and Jessica Sanchez; C. Hammond and V. Olsen