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May 2, 2014

NEW WAVERLY SOFTBALL — Lady Dogs fall to Crawford in area playoff round

New Waverly girls unable to overcome deficit in final inning, lose 9-4 to end state playoff run

FRANKLIN — The Lady Bulldogs’ playoff run ended Thursday night with a hard-fought 9-4 loss to Crawford, the state’s top-ranked Class 2A team.

New Waverly (24-7) hoped to make a run at the state championship after losing in the area round the past two seasons. This season’s area-round posed an arduous challenge against a Lady Pirates squad that held a 9-1 lead over the Lady Dogs after six innings.

New Waverly did its best to make the seventh and final inning compelling. With two outs and the season nearly over, the Lady Dogs added three runs before Crawford put them away.

“I got really excited (in the seventh inning),” said Lady Dogs senior shortstop Amy Roberts, who drove in two RBIs for New Waverly. “We just weren’t hitting like we can and like we’ve been hitting all year. We didn’t get the hits we needed when girls were on base. But it was really exciting. I think we had an awesome season.”

 The Lady Dogs got out to an early 1-0 lead when Roberts hit a single to left field to bring in Nicole Billnoske, who also singled. The lead, however, was short-lived.

Crawford shortstop Morgan Groppe hit a two-out triple in the bottom half of the inning and was brought home on a double to right-center field by catcher Sydney Christensen, who later blasted a two-run homer in the sixth inning.  

New Waverly senior pitcher Danielle Hickman held the Lady Pirates to four runs through the first five innings and was one out away from taking the three-run deficit into the seventh.

Then Crawford showed its mettle.

Second baseman Tori Phillips hit a two-out solo shot over the left-field fence. Groppe followed it up with a single to center field, which set up the next home run by Christensen.

“Crawford’s No. 1 for a reason,” New Waverly coach James Lane said. “They can hit 1 through 9. They’re going to be a tough out. I told the girls, the brackets are already set and unfortunately we get to play the No. 1 team in the second round. But you’ve got to match up with them at some time so I was proud of our girls.”

Crawford advances to the regional quarterfinals and will take on either Mildred or Rogers next week.

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