COLUMBIA When Boyd County loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the sixth, manager Dave Atkinson thought his club was cooking up a comeback.
“We were in a very good spot there,” Atkinson said.
However, “it just didn’t happen,” said the manager. Marion County eliminated Boyd County’s 10-12 softball All-Stars, 3-1, to capture the state title on Thursday.
Marion County’s defense responded in the final frame, recording back-to-back force outs at home plate on infield grounders. A popout to second base ended the contest.
“Our girls battled,” Atkinson said. “And take nothing away from Marion County. They hit the ball really well, and we played some really good defense today.”
Boyd County center fielder Dani Crum supplied a highlight in the bottom of the third. She fired a strike to catcher Kyli Kouns from the outfield to nab a runner trying to score from second base.
“She laced that thing on a rope from deep center,” Atkinson said. “It one-hopped to Kyli, and Kyli was waiting on the runner. It was a heck of a throw and a great tag as well.”
Crum preserved a 0-0 game at the moment. She turned it into a 1-0 affair with an inside-the-park home run on a shot to the center-field fence.
Marion County, which had also handed Boyd County a loss on Saturday, notched three runs in the bottom of the fifth. A walk and two hits brought the first run home. Marion pushed another across on a sacrifice fly by the cleanup batter, who stepped into an outside pitch intended to be the fourth ball. Left fielder Elise Sparks snagged the fly, but a run came in. Another RBI hit made it 3-1.
Boyd County’s Bree Jones singled to left, JoDee Atkins singled and Jaycie Goad drew a walk to pack the bases full. That’s when Marion County induced two straight groundouts and the game-ending pop-up.
Savanna Atkinson, Jones, Atkins, Crum and Laney Sorrell accounted for Boyd County’s five hits.
“The girls took the loss very hard, intially,” Dave Atkinson said late Thursday. “They’re in better spirits. They understand it’s just a game and they’re runner-up in the state. I’m just super proud of them all for the effort they gave.”