EL DORADO — The Woodlawn Lady Bears knew they had a tough challenge against the 7-2A West District champion Foreman Lady Gators to win the 2A South Region champion, as the Lady Bears found themselves trailing 9-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
“Nobody gave us a chance (Monday),” Woodlawn head coach Chad Hutson said. “For five innings we proved everybody right, but the Lady Bears didn’t quit. We haven’t quit all year long and we’re not going to quit now.”
Woodlawn tried its best to fight back in the inning with eight batters and three runs, but that’s all the Lady Bears would manage as they fell 9-3 at Parkers Chapel High School.
“In that sixth inning we showed that we weren’t quitters,” Hutson said. We showed we were going to fight as a team and that’s what we did.”
Madisyn Stewart started the inning off with a single to left field and was followed by another single from Jordan Wylie. After a groundout, Laynie Nelson reached safely when she hit the ball to the pitcher who tried to keep Stewart from scoring but was unsuccessful when Stewart slid back into third base.
With the bases loaded, Megan Howard stepped to the plate and ripped a two-RBI single to right field. Lily Henderson followed that up with an RBI groundout before a 1-2-3 double play ended the inning.
Woodlawn (23-7) had trouble all day solving Foreman’s Crystal Kegley. She pitched a complete game, allowing six hits and three runs (all earned) with no walks and five strikeouts.
Lily Henderson took the loss for the Lady Bears as she tossed a complete game, allowing 10 hits and nine runs (all earned) with two walks and six strikeouts.
Foreman (26-4) scored three runs in the first, four runs in the fourth, and two runs in the fifth. The Lady Gators have had a rich tradition in softball over the years and first-year head coach Richard McMillian said he knows all about it.
“Before I got here, Foreman went to seven state championships in a row,” he said. “They were runner-up in the first year and then won six in a row. Last year they got knocked out in regionals, but they have a tradition here and they are used to winning.”
McMillian was grateful for the win and said he doesn’t think they have seen the last of Woodlawn.
“I honestly think Woodlawn is one of the top three teams in 2A.” McMillian said. “If we are fortunate enough to make it to the championship game, I fully expect to see (Woodlawn) on the other side.”
In the fourth inning, a groundball by Myranda Gross popped up and caught Woodlawn’s Addison Adair in the jaw. The game stopped for about 10 minutes while Adair was attended to. She shook it off and returned back to third base.
“We call her peanut, but we ought to call her hickory,” Hutson said with a laugh. “She’s a fighter … and I guarantee there were 19 girls who knew she wasn’t coming out. She’s a gamer and a fighter.”
Howard led Woodlawn at the plate with a 1-for-3 performance with two RBIs. Skyler Anderson finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI to lead Foreman.
Despite the outcome, the Lady Bears will still head to the state tournament as the second seed from the South Region and Hutson emphatically said his team will be ready.
“Everybody is 0-0,” he said. “The good thing about it is Foreman is 0-0, and they have to win four games just like we have to.
“We’re going to sleep in our beds. We are going to wake up and make the journey to Marked Tree and we’re going to give it all we got. Go be amazing and go Lady Bears!”