HARRISON -- Thursday's first-round game at the State 5A Softball tournament came down to who could hold their breath longer, Farmington on defense or Magnolia trying desperately to surface.
The Lady Panthers never could get a tying run across the plate and their hopes eventually evaporated as Farmington (25-4) locked down on defense after an error-plagued fourth inning.
Paige Devercesery came on in relief, holding Magnolia (14-12) scoreless over the final three innings to earn Farmington a 5-4 win over the Lady Panthers. Farmington led 5-0 early, then had to hold off Magnolia, which scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning.
"We commit four errors in the fourth inning which is very uncharacteristic of us," said Farmington coach Randy Osnes. "Then to have two blooper hits on top of that, it doesn't matter who you're playing. You do that stuff in a state tournament game, kick it around like we did and hit bloopers -- you're not going to win by very much."
Still, the win got a monkey off the Lady Cardinal program, which hadn't won a state tournament game since moving up to 5A for the 2014-2015 school year. Next season, Farmington reverts to 4A.
Devecsery (13-2) earned the win in relief for Farmington, pitching three and two-thirds innings. No runs were charged to her. She allowed one hit, and didn't issue any walks. McKenzi Bogan started the game for Farmington, and was charged with 4 runs on 6 hits over three and a third innings. Bogan struck out 5 and walked none.
"I thought both of our pitchers pitched very well, and Bogan didn't deserve to have those four runs off her," Osnes said.
Farmington first baseman Kally Stout hit a pair of doubles, with both driving in runs. Her first double drove in Carley Antwine to put the Lady Cardinals up 2-0. Stout's second double gave Farmington a 5-0 lead at the end of the second. Farmington scored three runs in the second, beginning with senior Camryn Journagan's RBI single into left field. Farmington's Eliana Marano bunted her way on to load the bases. Magnolia recorded an out with a blooper hit beyond third base. Stout then connected with a 2-1 pitch to drive in a pair of runs.
Farmington left two runners on base with back-to-back ground-outs to shortstop, then had to withstand a furious Magnolia rally. Carlin Whaley led off the fourth with a single into center field for Magnolia. Then came four costly errors by Farmington. Kendall McHahen bunted. The ball was bobbled on the ground allowing her to get on. Hannah Brigham reached on an error to load the bases. Farmington recorded an out by fielding a pop-up at third base, but then missed a tag between third and home when Jade Snider bunted. Reece McDonald hit into right field, but the ball was again bobbled on the ground and two runs scored for Magnolia.
Osnes then pulled sophomore Bogan and inserted Devecesery, who gave up an RBI double to Brittany Yates narrowing Farmington's lead to 5-4 with one out. Devecsery struck out the next two batters to leave a potential tying run stranded at third. Devercsery was tough the rest of the way. She struck out seven and allowed nobody to get on base over the last three innings.
Caitlyn McCormack took the loss for Magnolia. She allowed 5 runs on 6 hits over with no walks.
Both teams recorded 7 hits. Farmington was led by Journagan (2-for3, 1 RBI) and Stout on offense. Snider and Yates drove in runs for Magnolia.
Farmington's win advanced the Lady Cardinals to Friday's quarterfinal game against Paragould, which came into the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the 5A East. Paragould defeated No. 3 seed Pulaski Academy (5A Central), 15-0, on Thursday.Sports on 05/16/2018
Print Headline: One Bad Inning Doesn't Spoil Game