Just because field conditions pushed back the opening day of Class 1, District 8, varsity softball action last Wednesday at Community R-6 didn't mean much was going to change on day two.
Instead the idea was to adjust the schedule to allow for three games. This meant that the host Lady Trojans contest against Clopton was second on the agenda, and thanks, in part, to temperatures in the mid 40's by the end of it all, made for quite a close game. CR-6 was actually so close it was only down 2-1 heading into the sixth inning, but when the Lady Hawks crossed the plate once more in the bottom of the stanza and then shut things down in the top of the seventh, the Lady Trojans had lost 3-1.
"(Clopton) was putting the ball in play. So were we," said Community R-6 coach Madison Henke. "They were putting the ball in play just a little bit more than we were. That's about it."
CR-6's run came in the top of the third starting when Dalaney Bowers got on base with one out when the second baseman dropped a fly ball. Natalie Thomas then drove her home with a two-out double to left field that gave the Lady Trojans a 1-0 lead.
Clopton then took that lead back in the bottom of the fourth after CR-6 pitcher Emma Angel got the initial batter to ground out to the short stop by drawing three consecutive walks. That allowed Lauren Denslow to bunt home a run for the Lady Hawks, as did Mary Margaret Garrett to give her team a 2-1 advantage. But, when the Lady Trojans picked off the runner at third, that killed the momentum, leading to a fly ball out to right field.
"I wouldn't change one thing about these girls or this team. They worked their hearts out the entire season," said Henke. "They gave me everything they could."
The final run of the game for Clopton in the sixth came after Angel sandwiched strikeouts for CR-6 around a walk to Jenna Gronek, who then managed to find her way to second base. From there all it took was a double to centerfield and just like that the Lady Hawks had doubled their lead to 3-1.
"I'm so proud of these girls for the amount of work they've put in. The tremendous improvement we've made from last season to this season," Henke said. "I mean, it only took one season and they've been clicking. They've been clicking since day one and working hard since day one. It makes me sad that it's over. Deann (Brooks) had some good hits, Natalie (Thomas) put the ball in play. I cannot say anything more about these girls. "
During the regular season CR-6 finished third in the Capitol Activities Conference with a record of 12-9 overall. As for All-League accolades, those making the list include Natalie Thomas, Emmi Johnson and Emma Angel.
"We went 3-for-3 on the girls we nominated, so we're very proud about that," said Henke.