OKLAHOMA CITY – Dale seniors Dani Manning and Lauren and Lacey Hood will have to settle for one more fast pitch runner up title following a 5-3 loss to Latta in the Class 2A State Championship game Saturday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The Lady Pirates committed three errors and gave up five runs in the bottom of the first and had to play catch up the rest of the game.
“Games are won and lost in the first inning. I've said it a thousand times. It happened again tonight,” coach Andy Powell said.
With bases loaded and one out, Mikayla Rutland misplayed a grounder to third that slipped by her for Latta to take a 1-0 lead. With bases still loaded on the next batter, pitcher Delanie Manning fielded a bunt by trying to flip the ball from her glove to catcher Lacey Hood but overshot for a run to score. As Abi LaValley took the advantage to run home from third as well on the high toss, Lacey threw to Delanie for an easy out at the plate, but the Lady Pirates' pitcher dropped the ball on contact for the run to score. Two batters later a single from Kendra Hisaw brought in two more runs.
Manning recovered on the mound in the later innings, giving up just one more hit the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done.
Lacy Hood drove in Dale's three runs on a bases clearing double in the fourth, but Dale never had the extra boost to bring home any more runs.
The Lady Pirates weren't without their opportunities though. Eight runners were stranded through the game, with runners within scoring position and one out on two occasions.
Lacey Hood led the team, going 2-of-3 with her 3-run double and a walk. Lauren Hood was 1-2 with two walks.
Early in the season the girls struggled and knew they were going to have to put in a lot of work to match up to the precedence set by the Dale name. Powell was proud of how determined his team was to finish as well as they did.
“Great season. This team... had a high ceiling and they got better. We were a lot better today than we were at the beginning of the year... We had to do better to get here and we did,” he said.
The Lady Pirates complete the season with a 36-4 record.