Tigers split in home tourney

Thursday, April 5, 2007
Fort Scott center fielder Crystal Colvin makes a diving catch off the bat for the third out of the sixth inning of the opening game of the Fort Scott Softball Tournament Wednesday. Phot by Captured Images/Kenny Felt

It's been a long time since Fort Scott High hasn't been in the championship game of its own tournament. But the Tigers had to settle for third place Wednesday night after Pittsburg took the semifinal game 10-8, which knocked Fort Scott into a consolation contest in which they had to rally to win, 13-5, over Parsons.

The Tigers committed six errors in the opener, which led to nine unearned runs. They weren't pleased with their effort and that carried over into the start of the third-place game, which they trailed 4-0 after 2 1/2 innings.

These were the first games of the season for Fort Scott as this tournament was postponed on its original date, March 27, due to rain. The Tigers will get a chance to even the score with Pittsburg this afternoon when they travel south for a Southeast Kansas League doubleheader.

"We talked about looking forward to getting two games back," Alvin Metcalf said after his first two games as the third head coach in the program's 18 seasons. "To win State, it's (now) 25 (wins) in a row. But we've got to concentrate right now on (today) only. One game at a time from here on out. Don't boot any balls. Work harder in practice. I think they realize they have to work a little harder now. And I realize as a coach, this was my fault, also, for not pushing them as hard as they should be."

Girard won the tournament by routing Parsons 12-0 in the semifinal and Pittsburg 11-0 in the championship game.

Pittsburg 10, Fort Scott 8.

Both teams committed six errors in the semifinal. Pittsburg, 3-1, made most of their miscues in the first three innings while the Tigers had all of theirs in the last four.

Pittsburg scored in the top of the first. The Tigers got their first two runs in the bottom of the inning. Brittany Fowler reached on a one-out bunt single and was awarded second when Cara Russell was called for an illegal pitch. After she moved to third on a wild pitch, Afton Gray belted a triple to center field and came in when the Purple Dragons' center fielder made a bad throw back to the infield.

Katelyn Simpson singled to left to lead off the second, stole second and scored after a bad throw on Joce Allen's groundout, making it 3-1.

Hannah Hawkins doubled to right with one out in the third. Amanda Metcalf reached on an error, which allowed Hawkins to score. Metcalf got all the way to third on the play and scored when Crystal Colvin's grounder was misplayed.

The Dragons took advantage of Fort Scott's first two errors, a pair of walks and three hits -- one of which was Russell's bases-clearing, three-run double -- to score six in the top of the fourth to go ahead 7-5.

The Tigers answered back with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth. Joce Allen singled and Erin Floyd doubled to lead off the inning. Fowler's slap bunt got through the infield and allowed both runners to score. Fowler moved to second on the throw home and scored on Metcalf's two-out single to right-center.

The Dragons scored two in the top of the sixth to go ahead 9-8 and added an insurance run in the seventh.

Russell allowed only one hit in the final three innings and ended up the winning pitcher despite allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs. She didn't walk anyone, however, and struck out five. Floyd, Fowler, Hawkins and Metcalf all had two hits for the Tigers.

Gray pitched seven innings officially as starter Hawkins walked the only three batters she faced to start the game. She allowed no earned runs on eight hits and six walks while striking out nine. Russell aided her own cause by going three for five with five runs batted in. Savannah Remmich and Casie Wilson each had two hits.

"Afton threw a great game," coach Metcalf said. "They got no earned runs off her. Afton came in, shut the door and we got out of (the first inning) with only one run. Then we started committing all those errors in the late innings. Ground ball, ground ball, ground ball and we booted all of them.

"We hit the ball in the first game. But nine errors, one earned run. Uncharacteristic of us. I had said earlier that our strength is our defense. Tonight, our strength was our offense."

Girard 12, Parsons 0.

Ashley Curran tossed a no-hitter and helped herself with a second-inning home run as Girard, 4-0, won easily on the south diamond in the other semifinal. Curran, stepdaughter of former FSHS head coach Karen Curran, went two for three at the plate and scored twice. She also pitched all five innings of the run-rule contest, walking one and striking out 11 Vikings.

Fort Scott 13, Parsons 5.

The Tigers had trouble adjusting to the slower pitching of Parsons' Kayla Lett. They had just one hit in the first two innings before they finally began to connect.

Parsons scored one run in each of the first and second innings and two in the third on Kandra Lang's two-run over-the-fence home run to center at the smaller south field.

After that homer, sophomore Erica Davis was moved inside the pitching circle. She got out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts and she'd go on to punch out the first six Vikings she faced.

In the bottom of the third, Fort Scott's bats began to stir. Fowler led off with a walk and Gray followed up with a double. Hawkins then belted a double to left but only Fowler could score because of the shallowness of left field.

Crystal Colvin bunted her way on to load the bases and Tabetha Colvin's two-out bases-loaded walk forced Gray in.

The Tigers took the lead in the fourth. Floyd led off with a walk and Fowler bunted her way on. Gray and Hawkins drew consecutive walks, which forced Floyd in with the first run.

Parsons changed pitchers, moving Christiana Taylor inside the circle. She threw a bit faster, which was actually easier for the Tigers to hit. Metcalf took Taylor's first pitch to right-center to plate Fowler and Gray. Then C. Colvin singled in Hawkins and Metcalf to give Fort Scott the lead, 5-4.

Colvin would move to third on a wild pitch and scored from there on Allen's sacrifice fly.

"That pitcher (Kayla Lett) did her job," coach Metcalf said. "She kept us off balance and they got up 4-0 and our heads were still hanging from the first game. They put (Christiana Taylor) in and she threw a little bit faster and we hit the ball."

Two more went up in the fifth on only one hit. Gray led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. Hawkins reached base on an error, which allowed Gray to score. Metcalf singled. C. Colvin lined into a double play but Metcalf ended up advancing two bases on a passed ball and scored on another error.

Allen led off the sixth and reached on an error. She was thrown out at home trying to score on Floyd's double but Floyd moved up on the throw home.

Fowler's sacrifice bunt allowed Floyd to score. Then Gray reached on a single and Hawkins homered over the right-field fence.

Fowler, Gray, Hawkins, Metcalf and C. Colvin had two hits each. Hawkins drove in five runs while Metcalf and C. Colvin drove in two each.

Davis, the younger sister of 2006 graduate Heather, who is now pitching for Cowley College in Arkansas City, allowed four hits and issued no walks while striking out seven in her 4 2/3-inning varsity debut. She had pitched in two JV games prior to the tournament.

"What can you say about a sophomore who comes in and does a great job?" coach Metcalf said. "She threw the best of the three pitchers tonight. She had velocity. She got her change-up across. She hit the ball. We've had her down on JV trying to work her in and it looks she belongs up here with (the varsity)."

Championship: Girard 11, Pittsburg 0.

A six-run third inning put the game away for the Trojans, who pounded out 12 hits. Brandi Clausen had three hits, including a double and a triple. Curran allowed only one hit and and two runners to reach base.