LAPEL — On the opening day of play in softball Sectional 40, Alexandria pulled off what might have been the stunner of series.
The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 2-0 on the Lapel field Monday, May 24, knocking the Bulldogs out of contention in post-season action.
Alexandria came into the game with just four regular-season wins, while Lapel had a regular-season record of 13-9 and had won six of its past seven games.
Kendall Parker of Alexandria knocked off nine Bulldog batters and allowed only two hits.
First-year Bulldog coach Ellie Balbach said Alexandria deserved this win.
“One team came to play and one team didn’t,” Balbach said. “We should have played better. We didn’t show up mentally, and that’s disappointing on our end.”
The game was scoreless after four innings with both teams stranding runners on base.
Alexandria scored its first run in the top of the fifth inning after two Tiger singles had runners on base; Parker hit one to the shortstop, forcing an out at second, but the Bulldog attempt at a double play resulted in an error as the ball went past Ashlynn Allman at first, and Tiger Taylor Roundtree scored.
“We weren’t in it hitting. We weren’t making those adjustments. We made some errors we haven’t made all season, and it showed,” Balbach said.
Allman hit a long-ball double to left field in the sixth inning, possibly giving some life to the offense, but subsequent batters fell to Parker again, and Allman was left on base.
Jordan Tracy went three innings for Lapel and struck out three, while Davis finished up the game taking down five. The two combined for allowing six Alexandria hits.
Alexandria picked up another run in its final at bat, but the Lapel offense was retired, giving the Tigers the opportunity to play Elwood in the semifinals.
Catcher Taylor Williams and Allman at first base are the lone seniors, and Balbach said she expects the young Bulldogs to bounce back next season.
While the loss was difficult, Balbach said the season has been great.
“This game aside, we took down some big names — Frankton, Mt. Vernon. So these girls have nothing to hang their head about.”
Balbach said it’s a young team with four freshmen in the starting lineup.
“With a whole new coaching staff, there was a lot of change this year, and the girls ran with it and trusted us. It’s very encouraging,” she said.