Delta's luck runs dry against Naylor in district title game

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Delta's Taylor Smith makes contact with the ball during the Bobcats' game against Neelyville on Monday. (TIM BRUMITT ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- One bad inning put Delta in a hole.

One baserunning blunder ended the Bobcats' chance at a district championship.

Top-ranked Delta fell 1-0 to second-seeded Naylor in Monday night's Class 1 District 1 championship game.

"You don't win games," Bobcats coach Laura Brown said. "You lose them."

After a dramatic comeback in their semifinal game just hours earlier, the Bobcats let this one get away.

Delta nearly didn't have the opportunity to play for the title.

The Bobcats trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the eight inning against Neelyville in the semifinals.

But Samantha Bartels lined a two-out double to drive in the tying run before Taylor Keys hit a bloop single to right field to lead Delta into the finals with a 3-2 victory.

The Bobcats' bats fell silent in the finals.

Naylor ace Chelsea Lane struck out 14 en route to a dominating performance. She allowed no runs on two hits, walked one and hit a batter.

"She did a good job," Brown said. "She's good at what she does."

Naylor nearly struck early.

Lane led off the second inning with a double to right field, but Bobcats hurler Kendra Burnett struck out a batter, forced a ground out, then fanned the final batter to leave the runner stranded.

In the bottom half, Delta had a golden opportunity to gain momentum.

Burnett was hit by a pitch to lead off and Rachel Bartels drew a walk to make it first and second with no outs. But Katie Brucker struck out, Burnett was caught trying to steal third and Macy Parks struck out trying to bunt to end the inning.

In the fourth, Naylor took advantage of three errors to take the lead.

Moriah Goodrum reached first on a one-out error when the ball got past the first baseman. Lane followed with a grounder to third baseman Courtney Burton, whose throw sailed wide of first and into right field. Keys, right fielder, gunned the ball to home, where it short-hopped the catcher and rolled to the fence, allowing Goodrum to score from first base and Lane to take second to give Naylor a 1-0 lead.

Burnett and Delta would settle down and work out of the inning without any further damage.

Burnett, who was battling flu symptoms, kept Delta in the game.

She struck out nine batters and allowed two hits while walking two. The one run was unearned.

"She came back after the first game," Brown said. "She pitched a lot harder and stronger."

Delta had a final chance in the bottom of the seventh.

Burnett led off with a sharp grounder up the middle that the shortstop Goodrum reached, but her throw pulled the first baseman just off the bag, allowing Burnett to reach first.

Two straight strikeouts and a wild pitch left Burnett on second with two outs and Parks at the plate.

Burnett took off for third when the pitch from Lane bounced in the dirt, but Naylor catcher Andrea Sullivan snagged the ball and gunned out Burnett to end the game and the threat.

The Bobcats finished 18-7 on the year.

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WP -- Chelsea Lane. LP -- Kendra Burnett. 2B -- Lane (N), Kendal Rogers (N).

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