Softball playoffs: ‘Unlucky’ Weber falls short in Game 1 against Mountain Ridge
PLEASANT VIEW — Weber High left fielder Brailee Avner had a good look at a long Mountain Ridge hit as she raced to the corner where the line and the fence meet, and the ball sailed left of the foul pole.
So, Avner was amazed and upset when she questioned the umpires after they ruled it a three-run homer.
“In my opinion, it was (foul). I watched it hit on the other side of the foul pole,” Avner said. “I never talk to umpires unless I know for sure. That’s why I said, ‘ump, you know that was a foul ball.’ I just think it was a bad call on their part. The home run cost us three runs and we lost by one.”
No. 6 Weber High softball fell behind early and couldn’t dig out of a six-run hole, falling 8-7 in the first game of a 6A state second-round series to No. 11 Mountain Ridge on Thursday.
The home run call put the Warriors down 4-2 in the second inning and things got worse before they got better as the deficit grew to 8-2 after three.
A Weber run in the fourth, two in the fifth and another pair in the sixth left the Warriors one short in the end.
“Maybe a little panic, but we picked ourselves up and we chipped away and kept going,” Avner said. “We could have given up, but we continued to push and fight the whole rest of the game.”
In a one-run loss, there are several plays that could have made a difference and Weber (16-5) had many to choose from.
There was a runner interference call that turned into a double play in the fourth inning. Two batters later, Brylee Leatherwood doubled in a run that could have been two for the Warriors.
Then, in the seventh inning, Kendall Strasburg lined an opposite-field shot down the right field line that on any other day would have been a triple, but Mountain Ridge’s (14-10) Trisha Langston held it to a single.
Two batters later, Hadley Howell bounced a grounder up the middle that the Sentinels’ shortstop fumbled all the way to second base, where the Weber runner appeared to beat the play but was ruled out.
“There were multiple, multiple plays that we didn’t make, and to their credit they did,” Weber coach Melinda Wade said. “The cutoff should have been a triple.”
Strasburg was stranded at third in the seventh with the winning run at first.
Catcher Ellie Nielsen had four hits in four at-bats to pace the Warrior attack. Howell hit a two-run homer in the first inning, giving Weber a brief 2-1 lead before Mountain Ridge capitalized on the three-run blast in the second.
“I thought it was foul, but our opinions don’t matter,” Wade said.
Weber then mounted its comeback but came up just short, settling down after making three errors in the first three innings and giving up all eight runs.
“Right from the get-go, we were tense, dropping a ball here and there; because of the state tournament atmosphere,” Wade said. “It felt like any bounces didn’t go our way. Any close calls didn’t go our way. It felt like we were fighting an uphill battle the whole game.
“But, in life or whatever, you can’t blame anyone else. You’ve got to keep fighting, and we did. Just not enough today. I hate to use the term, but we were just unlucky,” Wade said.