After going up 2-0 the Lady Eagles (10-6, 1-4 Region 6A-A) allowed four unanswered runs and could only get to within one as they fell to the back-to-back Class A state champions.
While the game might be looked at as a moral victory at some point in the season, it felt like a game they let get away to the MZ coach Millie Grimes.
“[Wednesday] it probably will be, [Tuesday] I felt like we should have won. I’m disappointed right now. We had a couple of mental lapses, a couple things that we didn’t do that we should have done and we could have won. But we also made some excellent plays, some super duper plays defensively that held them at bay. You just come so close against a strong team like that, you have your chances and you don’t [win]. It’s hurting right now,” Grimes said.
A game that started perfect for both teams through an inning and a half started getting sloppy in the bottom of the second.
Jennifer Bagby started the inning off getting hit by a pitch and stole second before Corrssia Perry got an infield single moving Bagby to third. A throwing error on the play allowed Bagby to score and Perry to move to second. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded Brittney Buice came through with a single to score Perry and the Lady Eagles were up 2-0.
The lead didn’t last long as the Lady Trojans (15-2, 6-0) got both runs back in the top of the third taking advantage of a hit batter and a pair of walks. MZ hurler Jayde Bradley did get out of a bases loaded, no out jam only surrendering the two runs to keep the game tied.
Gordon Lee came out and took the lead in the fourth with a two out rally supplying the two runs that would be needed to win the game as the Lady Trojans took the 4-2 lead.
In the fifth the Lady Eagles cut the deficit to one as Ashley Smith’s deep fly to right scored Jordan Crews, but Smith was thrown out at third trying to stretch the double into a triple. MZ would get runners on in the sixth and seventh, but were never able to move them past first base.
Smith led MZ offensively with a 2-for-3 day, the double and RBI as Bagby, Perry, Kaylee Hurston and Buice also collected hits in the loss.
Without a senior on the team Grimes and her staff are relying on a lot of youth day-in and day-out. While the underclassmen do sometimes show their youth with some mistakes, the Lady Eagles will not be using that as an excuse this season. They expect to win no matter who they come up against.
“They’re growing all the time. Sometimes we forget how young they are because they do so many good things. We expect them to play beyond their years and they have. Every once in a while we’ll have a little lapse and we’ve been preaching, against these good teams, we can’t have a lack of focus,” Grimes said. “We’re not going to take that excuse that we’re young, we expect it.”
After dropping a 7-0 contest to the Lady Trojans in Chickamauga the first time the two teams met, Grimes knew her squad had the ability to defeat Gordon Lee. They almost did Friday, but couldn’t quite put the game away.
“We wanted it. We felt like we could do it coming in. We knew that we have the defense to play anybody good defensively and we felt like if we got some hits going we could make a run at it. Up there we didn’t play a good game, made some errors we don’t normally make,” Grimes said. “We just came up a little short [Tuesday].”
With just eight regular season games and the Trojan Slam tournament hosted by Carrollton it is crunch time for the Lady Eagles. They begin their final postseason push Thursday as they host Christian Heritage for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.
“It’s hard to believe. I hope that we do peak at the right time,” Grimes said. “We would like to go into the region tournament in the top four, but our half is so hard we’ve got to win some of these ... It’s within our sights, we’ve just got to take it in and we’ve got to do something. It’s getting late.”