STRATFORD — The Calera Lady Bulldogs won two of three games Thursday to punch their ticket to State, and the Silo Lady Rebels dropped two to conclude their season.
Shortly after Silo coach Mike McDonald told his team in a pep talk in front of the dugout prior to the last-chance game, “The most excited team usually wins,” the Lady Bulldogs could be heard behind that dugout, amping up excitement for their turn.
Calera migrated to the other side as it seemed more evident Silo would hold its lead to bring on a Bryan County showdown almost 90 miles from home. But that scenario was squashed, and Calera got set to take on the home team instead. And these Lady Bulldogs barked and bit, backed by a bunch on the sidelines more spirited than those in their own backyard.
Calera 14, Stratford 6
Calera jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first. Leadoff Taylor Pickett hit a single between short stop and second base. Madi Robinson followed with the same thing. Then, Ricki Harper got an RBI double down in right field.
Ashlynn Cooper was next with a hard-hit RBI single through the third baseman and short stop (who gave up an extra base in her frustration with the miss). Harper and Cooper came in on a double up the middle by five-hole Raylee Rogers. Rogers tagged up and got to third on Laney Rogers fly out to center and crossed the plate on Maddie Partain’s single up the middle.
With one out in the third, Cooper connected on a grounder that went under the short stop’s glove for rover to fetch. After Raylee Rogers squeezed a single between short stop and the third baseman, Laney Rogers lined an RBI double to right field to put runners at second and third. Partain knocked them both in on a single between the first and second basemen.
With two outs, Tori Swedelson hit a two-RBI single and an extra base on the throw home. She scored on Pickett’s standup double to left-center to post an 11-3 Calera lead that lasted into the fifth inning. That’s when Madi Robinson hit a two-RBI single with bases loaded.
Stratford added three in the bottom of the fifth.
Calera made it an even 14 in the top of the sixth on a Bailey McGuinness RBI single to shallow left field.
Nobody was without a hit for Calera. Pickett punched in with a double, three singles an RBI and a walk. Robinson finished with three singles and two runs batted in, McGuinness a trio of singles and one RBI.
Partain got two singles and brought in three runs. Raylee Rogers came away with a double, single two RBIs and a walk. Harper and Laney Rogers each hit a double and with an RBI. Cooper cracked a double and single, and knocked in a run.
Swedelson had a single and two RBIs. Kaylee Ervin chipped in a single.
Washington 10, Silo 0
Washington jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The three-hole hit a two-RBI triple then scored when catcher Whitney Jackson tried to throw her out when she rounded third during a play at the plate. Two batters later, the five-hole hit a two-run homer over the left-field fence.
The Lady Warriors added two in the second and three in fifth to bring the run rule into effect with two outs.
Silo never got the offense going, managing only three hits. Those were singles by Catie Simmons, Adyson Barber and Karissa Marshall. Mary Grider reached on a fielder’s choice.
Washington 12, Calera 1
The game was tied 1-1 after one. For Calera, Laney Rogers hit an RBI single with bases loaded and two outs. Ashlynn Cooper attempted to come in on the end of the play but was tagged out at home.
Washington was just hitting the ball well, and the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t find their bats. The Lady Warriors added one run in the second and three in the fourth. After the fifth, that was enough for the run rule.
Laney Rogers had the RBI single. Contributing a single apiece were Cooper, Ricki Harper, Raylee Rogers and Bailey McGuinness.
Stratford 8, Silo 7
The game was scoreless until the top of the third. After the first two batters were retired, Silo’s Adyson Barber dropped a single into shallow left. Karissa Marshall sent her home on a double that fell off the end of the running rover’s glove. Marshall scored on Mary Grider’s single to shallow left near the foul line.
The Lady Rebels extended that 2-0 lead in the fifth. With bases loaded, Barber placed an RBI single in short center. That kept the bases full, and the third baseman’s flub on contact made by Marshall allowed a run to score. But some confusion on the play had two runners trying to occupy third and Barber was tagged out.
Next up was Grider, who landed an RBI single over the first baseman. But Marshall tried to make it home and was thrown out.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Catie Simmons sent a solo shot over the left-center fence. Crissy Odom reached on a miss at first and ran all the way to third. Alex Giles brought her in on a single up the middle to take the 7-0 lead.
Stratford started the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back doubles that included an RBI. With one out, Stratford’s six-hole smacked a three-run homer over the left-field fence. Another double that brought in three runs and a score on an error tied the game before Silo could escape the inning.
With one out to start the seventh, Marshall routed a standup double to left field that banged against the fence maybe a foot into fair territory. She slid into third on a single by Grider. When Blackenship flied out to left, Marshall tagged up and headed home. She hit the dirt, but the umpire called Out 3.
After retiring the first batter, Silo intentionally walked Stratford’s six-hole and the next one reached on an infield miss. The six-hole hit one just out of Simmons’ reach at third. Left fielder Blankenship fired it into home to get the runner. The tag was down and it was close, but the “safe” call made it the game-winner.
Grider led Silo with three singles and two RBIs. Marshall had two doubles and batted in a run. Barber and Giles each had two singles and an RBI. McGuinness finished with the home run. Whitney Jackson, Kamryn Duncan and Alesha Baxter contributed singles.
Calera 7, Stratford 3
Every Lady Bulldog in the lineup contributed either a hit, walk or sacrifice fly.
Stratford struck first in the top of the first. The three-hole hitter put a three-run homer over the left-center fence.
Calera did them one better in the bottom of the frame with four hits and four runs through nine batters.
Ricki Harper and Ashlynn Cooper led off the third with singles. Raylee Rogers followed with a one-bagger of her own that brought in Harper. She and Cooper took extra bases on the throw home. That set up Laney Rogers and Maddie Partain to hit consecutive sacrifice flies to score both, and the game’s last.
Laney Rogers, Partain and Bailey McGuinness each put up a single and RBI. Taylor Pickett, Raylee Rogers and Tori Swedelson finished with a single and walk apiece. Madi Robinson, Harper, Cooper, and Kaylee Ervin had singles.
“The girls did a great job all day,” Calera coach Randy Ellevold said. “They played their butts off. They did everything I asked. They deserve all they got.”
State Tournament (one-day, single-elimination) match-ups will be released this afternoon. Calera (Class 4A) will play Tuesday at The Ballfields at Firelake in Shawnee.