Southampton’s memorable softball season comes to screeching halt

Published 9:22 am Friday, June 3, 2011

Southampton senior Regina Artis bunts the ball during the semifinal regional tournament on Wednesday. The Lady Indians lost their chance at the state tournament after falling 6-5. -- GWEN ALBERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

COURTLAND—York overcame the record-high upper 90-degree heat, an early Southampton lead and a feverish late rally to down the Lady Indians 6-5 in the Region I semifinal state qualifier in Courtland Wednesday.

Southampton’s season ends at 17-5, while York (17-5) presses on to the Region I final at Powhatan, with both teams advancing to the AA State Tournament.

The Lady Indians got off to a hot start, putting two quick runs on York starter Hannah Winfree in the bottom of the first. Carla Matthews started the game with a double and scored on a passed ball, while Emily Nelson reached base and was brought in on an RBI single by Madison Cabell.

York responded in the next inning, getting the leadoff hitter on base. She moved on a bunt and scored on a single that squeezed between shortstop and third base.

York threatened again in the third and converted a pair of runners into a run, but left a runner on base as she was called out for missing second base.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Falcons used a pair of Lady Indian errors to take a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the fifth, the Falcons added a pair of runs to bring their lead to 5-2, a lead that seemed insurmountable after Winfree found her groove on the mound and kept the Indian hitters off balance with a nice combination of rise balls and change-ups to complement her sneaky fastball.

The bottom of the fifth saw the Lady Indians bring in the top of the order, and once again, Matthews started a rally. After drawing a walk, and stealing second, she scored on a two-out double by fellow senior Megan Revelle.

Courtesy runner DeMoné Brickhouse scored from second on another Cabell single, but the rally was snuffed out by a nifty play by the York second basemen.

York put one more run up in the sixth to pad its lead to 6-4.

Southampton went down in order in the bottom of the sixth, and after York got a walk, the Falcons were put down in order to set up one last chance for the Indians to earn their trip to the state tournament.

Once again, the top of the order and Matthews were the spark the Indians needed and got. She led off the inning with a triple and scored on a Kaylee Edwards single. A fielder’s choice forced out Edwards at second, allowing Nelson to reach, and after a Revelle ground out, the Indians were down to their last out.

Cabell came through with a single to bring up Ashlee Buehner with the winning run on first. After getting down quickly 1-2, Buehner fouled off a couple of pitches before getting the count full. A swing and a miss ended the game and the Indians’ chances at a state tournament appearance.

“To see where these girls have come from in the past three years is remarkable,” said Southampton coach Susan Melbye. “They have nothing, nothing to hang their heads about tonight. We played a heckuva ball game.”

“York is a heckuva team and will represent Region I very well in the state tournament,” Melbye continued. “I am so proud of our girls and the heart that they played with today. To not only battle a high caliber pitcher and defense that York has, but the elements, too. They are remarkable, this season was remarkable and unforgettable.”

She said she will dearly miss the seniors and wishes them the best.

“They have built quite a legacy here for the young girls to follow,” Melbye said. “These seniors are responsible for rebuilding this program and bringing it from a 2-18 team four years ago to the brink of the state tournament. I am so proud of them and feel so lucky to have the opportunity to coach them.”