Team made second consectutive trip to post-season play
By Adam Gore
HOULKA – The Lady Rams found themselves in a 4-0 hole before rallying to plate three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead in the second game of their Class 1A North State semi-final game with the Houlka Lady Wildcats.
Jena Holder led off the fifth with a single and came around to score on a Houlka error to put the first run of the game on the board for Vardaman. Kaylee Haire drew a one-out walk and scored on a pass ball before Whitney Gee reached on an error and scored on a Greta Parker ground out to the shortstop.
In the sixth, Kelsey Nelson led off the inning with a single and her courtesy runner Jenna Campbell came around to score on a pass by to tie the game before Lane Harrison scored on a ground out by Trisha Williams to give Vardaman a one-run lead.
“We let them have too many easy runs early. When you get down 4-0 early it’s hard to battle back, but the girls did it,” Dill said.
In the bottom half of the inning, Sara Zachary and Rebecca Mays led off the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles and Mallory Meyers loaded the bases on a one-out walk. Zachary scored on a wild pitch before Candiace McIntosh drilled a shot up the middle to plate a pair of runs.
“You have to give it to Houlka. They came up with two big hits in the bottom of their lineup. I made a coaching error there at the end by not walking McIntosh. She is a heck of a hitter and came through for them when they needed her to,” Dill said.
Vardaman went three up, three down in the top of the seventh allowing the Lady Cats to celebrate the come-from-behind victory without taking their final at bats.
Casey High, Parker, Nelson, Holder, and Haire all singled in the game for Vardaman.
Houlka picked up a 12-2 win in Vardaman in the first game of the series.
Parker had a trio of singles while Charlsie Moore, High, and Harrison each singled in the contest. Gee and Haire scored a run each in the sixth inning for Vardaman.
Nelson was the pitcher of record in both games.
This is the second season in a row that the Lady Rams have advanced to the third round of the playoffs and with a large of the team expected to return next season Coach Dill feels things are pointed in the right direction in Vardaman.
“The big thing we want to do is keep seeing improvement from year to year. We put pretty good character girls out there and I think (the program is going) in the right direction,” Dill said.
The Lady Rams will have to replace two key players next season in first baseman Charlsie Moore and shortstop Lane Harrison as both players were cornerstones in the success enjoyed by the program.