May 29, 2019The Crawford County Lady Pack saw their season come to an end Monday afternoon, May 20, at the Class 2A softball sectional at Clarksville as the Providence Lady Pioneers beat the ball to a pulp for an 8-2 win. For Crawford County, it was a matter of not being able to get a clean connection on the ball.
"It's the same story all season," Crawford County coach Kim Allen said. "We just not have been able to hit the ball, and they did. (Pitcher) Cheyenne (Pierpoint) did well, but they had her number. It's not that she pitched badly or poorly. It's just that they had her number. They had her down.
Crawford County sophomore Cheyenne Pierpoint, right, throws out Providence's Sydney Shireman during the Lady Pack's 8-2 loss. Photos By Wade Bell
"Then, we didn't have any answers as far as hitting the ball. We made a few errors in the field, but it was not so many errors as it was their hitting. They were just solid hits. There was nothing as far as an error goes. It was just them hitting the ball. On the flip side of it, we just didn't hit. We haven't hit well all season, and that's been our problem."
Crawford County's Maddie Sargent was hit by a pitch to start the game. Pierpoint then lined into what turned into a double play as Sargent was caught off the base. Autumn Kerce then struck out, ending Crawford County's first try at the plate.
After Providence went down in order in the bottom of the inning, Crawford County drew first blood. Addy Simpson walked and stole second, and, after Hanna Ashley reached via a walk, the pair had a double steal.
Crawford County scored both runners when Lacey Bockting ripped a single. Bockting also was looking to score, going to third on a Desirae Puckett grounder. Bockting would not see home, however, as Providence's Kayce Quinn struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Providence loaded the bases with two singles and a hit batter to start the second inning, but, from there, Crawford County's defense held. Elle O'Bannon and Cecil Laramie hit back to Pierpoint, who went to home for the outs, leaving another zero on the board for the Lady Pioneers.
Things didn't stay that way for long.
After Crawford County went down in order in the top of the third, the Lady Pioneers lit up the sky. Anna Thomas put down a bunt single, then, with one out, Brooklyn Nolot singled. Quinn smashed a double to score both base runners and tie the game at 2. Katie Oelker followed with another single, and, with two outs, Mary Short also singled, pushing Quinn and Oelker across the plate for a 4-2 Providence lead.
Crawford County put two runners on board in the top of the fourth but failed to convert.
Crawford County's Jacie Kalk fights the sun to make this catch.
In the bottom of the inning, Providence put three more on the board with three more hits, with Nolot hitting a double to score Thomas and Sydney Shireman. Moments later, Nolot scored on a long fly ball by Quinn, increasing the Lady Pioneers' lead to 7-1.
Crawford County continued to struggle and Providence kept its bats hot, scoring again in the bottom of the fifth.
Following scoreless sixth and seventh innings, the Lady Pioneers got the 8-2 win to advance to the sectional semi-final.
"We've got some young players that got some good experience this year that I think will help for them next year, and we've still got a good pitcher to come back in," Allen said. "Those are all pluses, but you don't score if you don't hit the ball."
Bockting and Ashley had the Lady Pack's two lone hits. Pierpoint struck out three batters and hit two. Crawford County had four errors and left six runners on base.
Allen wasn't that disappointed with her team's defense despite the errors.
"Lacey, there in the sixth inning, turned two on the line drive. Addy had a heck of a stop and basically threw it from her knees, so we had some good plays," she said. "That's how it's been all year. We've had some good defensive plays. Offensively, we've just not been able to do anything."
The Lady Pioneers finished with 13 hits. Oelker, Short and Nolot finished with three each, while Quinn and Thomas had two apiece. From the pitching circle, Quinn struck out six batters, walked five and hit two. Providence had no errors and left nine runners on base.
"We've still got Cheyenne coming back, and we've got her for two more years as far as pitching goes," said Allen, who will not be returning as coach next year. "I've talked to her about some things she can improve on. Fielding as a pitcher is one thing.
"All of them are going to have to improve with the bat. Somehow, someway they've got to figure out what's going on."
The Lady Pack, who finished the season with a 4-11 record, graduate four seniors.
"Coming into the season, I knew it was going to be rough because we had a couple of players that didn't come out that were key players, our starting shortstop and our starting second baseman that didn't come out," Allen said. "They were also big in the lineup as hitting goes with speed on the bases."
"Addy was frustrated with herself because she struggled at times," she said. "She's had a lot of different things going on. A lot of people don't realize that these kids have a lot of things going on and off the field that they have to overcome. So, I knew going into the season it was going to be rough because of those ones that didn't come out. Those were going to be tough to fill."
The Lady Pack will lose Kerce, Payton Jones, Kylie Puckett and Simpson, a multi-sport student-athlete who was a force to reckon with in every sport she played.
"Addy, she's just a once-in-a-lifetime athlete that comes along," Allen said. "You just don't get those with that kind of athletic ability. When you combine it with that desire and determination and just an all-around excellent attitude, that's a once-in-a-lifetime athlete that you get to coach.
"All of them, Payton and Kylie and Autumn, they're just a good group of girls to be around. I couldn't ask for a better group. The four years I had them I never had any problems with them as far as discipline-wise or anything. They're just the kind of kids you want to have on your team."
Crawford County 020 000 0 - 2 2 4
Providence 004 310 x - 8 13 0
W-Quinn. L-Pierpoint. 1B-Bockting (CC), Quinn (Pr), Oelker (Pr) 3, Thomas (Pr) 2, Nolot (Pr) 2, Short (Pr) 3, Ashley (CC); 2B-Quinn (Pr), Nolot (Pr). Records-Crawford County 4-11, Providence 8-19.