Battle-worn South Warren ends postseason run
OWENSBORO — After battling through four games in a matter of 26 hours, South Warren finally met their match, falling to Male 12-2 in a double elimination game to end their impressive postseason run with a third-place finish in the 2017 KHSAA Fast Pitch State Tournament.
Playing three games on Friday, a 1-0 win over East Carter in eight innings, a 2-0 win over Mercy in 14 innings, and a 9-2 loss to Male, South Warren was forced to come back to Jack C. Fisher Park a mere 8-10 hours after their last game ended to start the next round of play.
The 47 innings in three days that were asked of Lady Spartan pitchers WKU-commit Shelby Nunn and Karson Williams in the tournament took take their toll on the pair, as Nunn threw 503 pitches in the tournament, including 323 on Friday alone.
“To turn around after a 14-inning game last night and play two more games, we were all really broken down,” said Nunn, her shoulder heavily wrapped in ice. “It got to us for sure.”
“Me and Shelby came out this weekend and gave it all we got,” said Williams, the Campbellsville commit. “We came up a little bit short, but we tried our best.”
The pitchers, of course, weren’t the only ones who were worn out by the three-day marathon. The Lady Spartans committed three errors in the game, two of them amounting to runs for the top-ranked Lady Bulldogs (29-5).
“Our bodies were really tired,” said South Warren outfielder Katie Conley. “We were really banged up, but we fought and gave it our best effort, and that’s all you can really ask for.”
Male began their scoring early, plating three runs in the bottom of the first inning on a RBI ground out by Bayleigh Masterson and a two-run homer by Danielle Walls.
South Warren (36-5) countered with two runs in the top of the second inning, as Bailee Collins hit a single to bring in Madilyn Daugherty followed by an error in centerfield on the same play to score Williams.
- VIDEO: South Warren head coach Chris Riggs
- VIDEO: South Warren’s Katie Conley
- VIDEO: South Warren’s Shelby Nunn
- VIDEO: South Warren’s Karson Williams
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The Lady Bulldogs poured on in the bottom of the inning, though, as a pair of Lady Spartan errors resulted in a pair of runs to stretch the Male lead to 5-2.
Male added three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning before putting the game away in the bottom of the fifth inning on a RBI single by Jenna Howell, a walk to Lily Ackerman with the bases loaded, and a two-run double by Sanders to put the mercy rule into effect.
South Warren mustered three hits on the afternoon, two from Williams. Male laid down nine hits including three from the pitcher Sanders.
Male advanced to face Madisonville-North Hopkins in the championship round, forcing a second game with a 5-1 win over the Lady Maroons before falling 5-3 in the second outing to give Madisonville the state title.
At the end of the day South Warren head coach Chris Riggs, Williams, Nunn, and Conley were left to reflect on their amazing season which featured a 4th Region Title, a 25-0 start, and a third place finish in the KHSAA Fast Pitch State Tournament.
Williams: “I’m very proud of our team. We started together and we finished together. We fought to the end.”
Nunn: “Most people thought we wouldn’t make it this far, and we did. Going from sixteenth place last year to third place this year is pretty good. It feels great to come out and prove that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
Conley: “This team’s spirit means everything to me. They weren’t only playing for themselves, but for the three seniors as well. They told us that they didn’t want to lose it for us, and that means a lot.”
Riggs: “They played their hearts out all season long. They always fought back when they were down instead of lowering their heads. I couldn’t be more thankful and more fortunate to be able to coach this bunch.”
Fortunately for the Lady Spartans, only three seniors are lost to graduation. The bad news? All of the pitching goes with it. Aside from that, Riggs and the seniors have great expectations for South Warren next season.
Williams: “They’re only losing us three seniors, so they get basically everybody back. I think that most of them will step up and take some big roles next year.
Nunn: “Although (us three) will be gone, they still have so much talent left on that team. They will go far next year.”
Conley: “They can do anything without the three of us, we’ve seen that before. I’m going to be here supporting them every step of the way, and I just wish them the best.”
Riggs: “Thankfully lots of them got experience this weekend here in the state tournament. Hopefully they’ll pick up where they left off and we will be back here next season.”