With Jefferson pitcher Alexandra Witt limiting Washington to six hits and two runs, the Cougars managed a 5-2 win over the Patriots in the first game of a best-of-three softball series that decided the winner of the Class AAA, Region II, Section 1 championship.
Witt’s route-going performance had Jefferson just a win away from another Section 1 championship. Washington needed wins in two straight games to wrest the title away from the Lady Cougars.
An early 3-0 lead helped propel the Lady Cougars to the win.
Jefferson led, 1-0, in the first inning after Shannon Lyons was safe on an error and eventually scored. The lead was improved to 3-0 in the third when Casey Lyons contributed a two-RBI single to the Jefferson cause. Lauren Lewis and Witt both scored on Lyons’ hit.
Washington stranded two runners off Witt in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Then in the sixth, the Patriots finally broke through against Witt. Alycia Lambert had a hit to get what became a two-run inning started. Devin Williams then lifted a two-run home run to center, and Washington trailed only, 3-2.
Jefferson was quick to answer the Washington rally. In its half of the inning, Casey Lyons had a single and Kari Nuse was safe on an error. Shannon Lyons had a sacrifice fly that got one run home. And then Nuse scored on wild pitch to restore Jefferson’s three-run lead.
Amber Curry was credited with three of Washington’s six hits. Kaitlyn Woodward contributed a pair of hits.
The loss left Washington’s Williams with a 9-4 pitching record.
In the second game of the series, Washington used Williams’ low-run pitching and enough offense from Amber Curry to even the series at 1-1 with a 3-2 win over the Lady Cougars. The game was played at Washington High.
Even though it had only three hits as a team, Washington made the most of its few opportunities against the Jefferson pitchers.
Curry’s looping double down the right-field foul line off Jefferson’s left-handed starting pitcher Shannon Lyons
plated Christina Collins to push the Patriots into a 2-1 lead. Curry went on to third on a passed ball and scored when Aja Matlock was retired on an infield ground out. Washington had a 3-1 lead.
Jefferson came back with one run against Williams when Nuse scored on an extra base hit from Lyons that cut the Patriot lead to 3-2. Jefferson’s first run came when Alexandra Witt’s single plated Shelby McTighe.
Neither team could score again. Williams boosted her overall record to 10-4.
Williams’ complete game saw her rope the Lady Cougars with her four-hitter that featured 10 strikeouts. Only one of the runs scored by Jefferson was earned.
The two county teams met in the third and deciding game last Friday evening at Jefferson’s field. Washington was looking for its first-ever Sectional championship with Williams back on the mound again. Jefferson was looking for a repeat of its earlier Sectional titles . . . and had Witt coming back after she had authored the last four innings of the one-run loss the night before.
Washington would win its first-ever Sectional title when it finally survived the last Lady Cougars’ scoring chance to get a ten-inning, 10-9, win.
After trailing by four runs after four inings, Washington rallied for five runs in the fifth and then had a three-run uprising in the sixth to to take a short-lived 8-6 lead going to the bottom of the seventh.
Jefferson rallied for two runs in its half the seventh to send the game into extra innings with the score knotted at 8-8.
Williams was Washington’s starter and Witt was Jefferson’s starting pitcher.
The intense third game-situation was made even more grinding by the fact that both teams made crucial errors and both teams had plenty of baserunners as each side collected hits and hit batsmen off pitchers Williams, Alexandra Witt, and Shannon Lyons.
Christina Collins had four of Washington’s 13 hits. Madi Dan was 2-for-3 and scored two runs. Chelsea Shepherd led Jefferson with four hits in five at-bats.
Washington had 13 hits off Witt (9.2 innings) and Lyons (one-third of an inning). The Lady Cougars committed five errors. Jefferson had 12 hits off Williams. And the Patriots had six errors.
Jefferson had Lyons on third as the tying run in the 10th, but Williams fanned the last two batters she faced to close out the game. Williams finished with 10 strikeouts. Williams will take an 11-4 record to this week’s Region II semifinal game versus Section 2 winner Musselman.
That Regional game will be played at Washington HIgh at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10.