The No. 6 Red Devilettes (21-11) had one bad inning in the field and it cost them the game. Washington-Wilkes (15-14) got three runs in the third — two off an error — and that was all it would need as it held Bowdon to no runs on just three hits in the game. While the error hurt, it wasn't the deciding factor in the deciding game.
"I told the girls my mom had a saying, 'If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.' We hit the ball hard two or three times, we just couldn't get the ball to fall. The pitcher, I'll give it to her, she's a good pitcher and probably shut us down more than any pitcher we've seen all year. At the same time, we did some things wrong," Bowdon coach Ralph Sanders said.
Bowdon got a hit in each of the first three innings — a single from Trinity Strickland, a double from Katlyn Buchanan and a single from Sydney Boddie — but never got a string of hits or a runner past second base.
The Lady Tigers, serving as the home team, made their hits count in the bottom of the third. A one-out single got the rally going and a decision to try to get the lead runner, who ended up being safe at second, on a ground ball put runners on first and second. Then came the big hit, a single into the outfield. What seemed like a hit that would load the bases ended up scoring two runs and moving the batter to third on an error. The next batter got a sacrifice fly to score the third run.
"We had an error that let two runs score, but she wasn't going to stop one anyway. We get beat 1-0 or 3-0 — what difference does it make? If we're not hitting the ball, it doesn't matter. If they get one, it's the ball game," Sanders said. "That's just the way it is. It happened."
While the game didn't go Bowdon's way, it was still a special season that saw the first region title for the softball team since 2003. And for the seniors — Strickland, Boddie, Madison Runyan, Jacole Stephens, Lyric Maze and Lindsey Sprewell — it was a year to remember.
"One of the big things is we set the goal of going to Columbus — as a team that was our goal — and we didn't get there," Sanders said. "This group, as freshmen, we won six games. Just to show you what this team has done, we are in a situation where we played in the first round of the state playoffs. We could have played further, we just had a little trouble hitting the ball. Every thing's what we wanted out of this senior group. They performed all year long."