Sand Rock’s softball season ends in extra-inning heartbreak to Ider

Sand Rock’s Sherina Foster delivers a first-inning single to left against Ider on Wednesday in the Class 2A East Softball Regional at Albertville. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

ALBERTVILLE – For the majority of the elimination game against Ider in the East Softball Regional on Wednesday morning, Sand Rock appeared as if it had shaken off its heartbreaking loss to Pisgah from the day before.

The Lady Wildcats scored three runs in the top of the first inning. They added another in the third, but heartbreak was destined to strike Sand Rock again.

The Lady Hornets battled their way back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after loading the bases with two outs. Seven-hole hitter Julie Mavity was hit by a Jadyn Foster pitch on the top of her foot to bring home the tying run and force extra innings.

Then, in the bottom of the ninth inning, Lexi Brewer walked with two outs. She scored the winning run on Kelsey Cooper’s single to left, just beating the throw to the plate to give Ider a 5-4 victory that ended the Lady Wildcats’ season at 41-10.

“We had it where we wanted it,” Sand Rock coach Josh Bates said. “Their kid did a great job putting the bat on the ball, and they had one of their fastest kids on the bases. We made a pretty good throw to the plate. It just wasn’t in time.

“Our kids competed. I thought we were going to get the third out right there and keep playing, but that round ball bounces funny sometimes.”

In her final game at Sand Rock, Wallace State signee Jadyn Foster suffered the tough-luck loss. She tossed 8 2/3 innings, giving up just one earned run on eight hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. She also singled, walked, scored a run and drove in another at the plate.

“She’s an extremely special kid,” an emotional Bates said. “She’s carried our team. She’s been dominant in the circle since the seventh grade. I’m just proud of her and proud of how hard she’s competed.

“After the injury to EllaGrace (Hood), she told me ‘Hey, I’ve got this.’ She did a great job. She pitched her heart out the last two days, giving us a chance. I’m proud of everything she’s accomplished. She’s going to leave our program highly decorated in school history and state history. That’s huge for her. She’ll get to play at the next level and continue on. We’re excited to see big things out of her. She’s just been outstanding for us.”

The game also marked the end of the high school softball careers for four other Lady Wildcat seniors in Hood, Briley Knight, Lacey Barnette and Sherina Foster.

Bates, again emotional, tried to put into words what they’ve meant to Sand Rock’s program.

“These five seniors mean the world to our program, what they’ve done and the things they’ve accomplished. Those kids competed, played hard and did the things we asked, laying bunts down when we needed them, those kinds of things. The commitment they had was just unreal. It’s a real special group.

“I’m proud of them and proud of the accomplishments we’ve had this year. I know it stings right now, but when we look back on this year, it’s been an unbelievable year. We played a lot of games and ended at 41-10 on the year.”

Sherina Foster led the Lady Wildcats at the plate with a pair of hits and a run. Barnette, along with Bailey Kilgore, added a hit and a walk.

Peyton Johnson collected a hit and two RBIs. Aliyah King contributed a hit and a RBI. Zoey Handy finished with a hit. Emma Sipsy walked and scored a pair of runs.

Brewer led the Lady Hornets with a pair of hits, a pair of walks (one intentional), a pair of runs and a RBI. Hanna Stevens also had a pair of singles.

Miklyn Troxtel earned the win after working all nine innings. She gave up three earned runs on eight hits with four walks and nine strikeouts.

“It was a battle and we knew it was going to be a battle,” Bates said. “Our kids competed hard and their kids competed hard. We had shots and chances just like they did all throughout the game, but they were able to come up there with a hit at the end to score the run to win it.”

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