Hickory softball falls to Franklin in D-10 Class 4A semifinals

May 25—MEADVILLE — The Hickory softball team was down, but the Hornets managed to get the tying run to the plate with one out.

However, they weren't able to get that final push as Franklin knocked the Hornets out of the District 10 tournament. The Knights won 7-4 in a Class 4A semifinal at Allegheny College.

"We live by playing to the very last out," Hickory head coach Will Zachrich said. "Every time we're down, we find — somehow, some way, even if we come up short — we score a couple in the fifth, sixth or seventh. Unfortunately we came up short this time, but in some of the other games that were key this season, we were fortunate to get the runs in."

Madeline Myers doubled twice for the Hornets (13-9), and Kaelyn Fustos went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. Layla McClung and Mya Jewell both doubled and drove in one run, and Madison Trimboli singled with an RBI and a run scored.

Loren Myers took the loss. She allowed seven runs — six earned — on eight hits in the complete game.

Trinity Edge earned the win for the Knights (16-3). She surrendered four runs — two earned — on nine hits and four walks. She struck out nine in the complete game.

Riley Hanna and Edge both doubled and finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Edge drove in two, scored twice and also hit a home run, while Hanna had three RBIs and scored once.

Franklin opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Jillian Ewing singled with one out and eventually scored on a two-out single from Hanna.

The Hornets tied the game in the second when Jewell drew a leadoff walk. She scored on a RBI groundout from McClung later in the inning.

The Knights retook the lead in the third. After a quick two outs, Edge hit a solo home run over the center-field fence that cut through the stiff wind blowing in. But the Knights weren't finished.

In the fifth, Franklin recorded six straight hits with one out to blow the game open. The Knights scored five runs in the inning to take a 7-1 lead.

Hickory tried clawing back in the sixth. Fustos tripled into the corner in right to lead off the frame. Jewell drove her home with a double to the left-center gap. Trimboli singled to right to score Payton Leunis, who entered as a pinch runner. And Trimboli scored via a double by McClung.

In the seventh, Loren Myers singled to start the inning and Fustos added a one-out knock. However, Edge got back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.

The Hornets left runners on the base paths. The had a runner thrown out at third base in the bottom of the first. Zachrich said he wanted to be aggressive in the opening innings since Franklin was familiar with the Hornets.

And in the fifth, Madison Reardon was thrown out at second on a caught stealing. After her second double, Madeline Myers was thrown out at third on steal attempt.

"It's nobody's fault," Zachrich said. "They went out there and battled. We did the best we could. Gave them too many runs."

Loren Myers, Madison Reardon and Fustos stepped foot on the diamond for the final time with the Hornets. Despite the small senior class, the three gave the younger players an example to follow.

And with most of the team returning next season, Zachrich and Loren Myers hope the 2024 Hornets remember Thursday's loss to the Knights.

"We tried our hardest," Loren Myers said. "We gave our all, every play and every out. This is my last season. I want the girls to remember how it feels in this moment, just to fuel them for the next season and to push them to play even harder than we did this season."