By Tim Branstetter / Staff Writer
WINCHESTER — The North Laurel Minor League All-Stars got going a little too late as their sixth inning rally fell short and they suffered a 5-3 loss to Russell Flatwoods in the state championship game Thursday.
"We didn't get our bats going early," North Laurel coach Shane Brewer said. "They came out, put the ball in play and we misplayed some balls early."
The first two innings looked like a pitcher's dual as North Laurel's Madison McDaniel and Russell Flatwood's Sara Hieneman were pacing their teams in the circle, but North Laurel misplayed a ground ball with two outs on the board and Russell Flatwoods broke the ice with a 1-0 lead. Hieneman lost to North Laurel in the state championship game as a 9-year-old, but was able to redeem herself Thursday.
Russell Flatwoods added two more runs on a single to take a 3-0 lead before North Laurel could get out of the inning.
North Laurel trailed 5-0 after five innings and found themselves down to three outs remaining, but were able to get some offense going in the top of the sixth inning. Madison Sechrest and McDaniel started the sixth inning off with back-to-back singles and they both advanced on a wild pitch. Makenlee Philpot stepped up and drove in Sechrest with an RBI single to give North Laurel its first run of the game.
McDaniel scored on a passed ball and North Laurel managed to close the gap at 5-2. Philpot tried to take advantage of another passed ball, but was called out at home plate. Brewer didn't agree with the call.
"She made it, I seen it perfect," he said. "I was in the first base box, her foot was on the plate and she gets tagged above the knee. I questioned the call and he said she didn't reach home. I showed him where her cleat mark was right on the corner of the plate, but that's ball."
Olivia Miller, Hannah Carson and Emily Albright walked to load the bases for North Laurel with only one out on the board. Beth Marcum stepped to the plate with two outs and was able to walk in a run to close the gap at 5-3, but that was as close as they could get.
"Whoever scores first in games like this gets the momentum," Brewer said. "You have to try to regain it and we didn't regain it until our last at bat. It was a little too late to try to strike. The girls played their hearts out though and they didn't give up."
North Laurel's bid to repeat as state champions comes up short
By Tim Branstetter / Staff Writer
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