UNIONVILLE, Tenn. — It was an unceremonious ending to an odd softball season.
Moore County’s Raiderettes were ousted from the District 9-A tournament and the 2015 postseason last Wednesday night, falling 4-2 to a Community High School team that’s hitting its stride at just the right time.
In Unionville, the loss ended Moore County’s season seemingly before it could ever get started. An unusually wet spring forced the Raiderettes to reschedule a number of games and the team never seemed to find its balance heading into the postseason.
After finishing second in the district with a 9-3 record in the regular season, MCHS went just .500 in the postseason tournament, with wins over Middle Tennessee Christian School and Eagleville and losses to eventual champion Forrest and Community.
It marks the first time since 2011 — the year before the Raiderettes’ magical run to the state tournament in 2012 — that Moore County has failed to make it beyond the district tournament.
While the team has compiled more than 80 wins in the last four seasons, it has failed to reach its goal of a return trip to the TSSAA Spring Fling in each of the three seasons since 2012.
This season, the Raiderettes (18-12-1) seemed to be undone by inconsistency both at the plate and in the field.
Moore County’s typical high octane offense was held in check when it mattered the most.
In nine of the team’s losses (and the lone tie), Moore County was either held to just one run or completely blanked. That includes all three district losses in the regular season — a 2-1 loss to Forrest, a 2-1 loss at Huntland and a 4-1 loss to Forrest.
And the Raiderettes, with just two seniors in shortstop Kyleigh Camp and first baseman/pitcher Abby Grogan, were guilty of uncharacteristic errors throughout the season.
Those two traits followed the team into the district tournament, where they lost to a Viqueens team that MCHS had outscored 15-0 in the previous two meetings this season. Moore County managed just six hits against Community pitcher Karla Pena.
Meanwhile, the MCHS defense did little to help out junior pitcher Kasey Harvey. Harvey allowed just one earned run on eight hits while striking out seven. She didn’t issue a walk in the contest, though she did put Community’s leadoff batter — Gabby Doyle — aboard in the key fifth inning via a hit-by-pitch.
Community then got a single to right field by Davie Barnes and an infield single by Kerigan Joslyn to load the bases. Pena then roped one to the outfield, but it was dropped by Moore County centerfielder Savannah Stevens on the run. The error allowed three Community runs to cross the plate and give the hosts a 4-2 advantage that they’d never give up.
Earlier in the game, Community’s Sarah Pierce scored the first run in the top of the third inning. She should have been out, but Moore County mishandled a ball along the third baseline in foul territory that gave Pierce new life. After that, Pierce laid down a successful bunt single that allowed Gabby Ramos to score from third.
Moore County got its two runs thanks to a double by Camp, a single by Kate Bowles and a single by Harvey, all in the third inning. Camp scored off of Bowles single and Hayley Pomarico, who was running for Bowles, scored via Harvey’s hit.
Bowles and Harvey each finished 2-for-3, while Camp and Parks each added a hit.
For the game, Moore County was guilty of four errors, as well as a couple of base-running mistakes.
In the fourth inning a successful Moore County bunt by Grogan moved sophomore Emily Parks over to second, but Parks was picked off as she made the turn toward third. And in the sixth inning, Emma Hill, who was running for Harvey, was doubled up at second base after a Community defender snagged a hard-hit liner off the bat of Stevens and fired it back to second base before Hill could retreat.
With Community ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh and the Raiderettes down to their final three outs, Parks struck out, Grogan grounded out and Daisy Pierce popped up to Pena.
Community will travel to East Robertson Monday night, while District 9-A champion Forrest hosted Houston County.