Prep softball: Spring Garden falls to Leroy after late-game comeback

·2 min read

May 16—OXFORD — Despite Spring Garden taking an early lead, a four-run sixth inning from Leroy doomed the Panthers in the opening round of the Class 1A state softball tournament.

"We came out, got a bunch of hits and just, kind of, didn't score after the second inning," Spring Garden coach Stephanie Steward said after the 7-6 loss.

Leroy used a pair of two-RBI doubles in the bottom of the sixth to put the team ahead, with the first hit by Hannah Howard and the second by Abbey Waddill.

Waddill finished with a team-high three RBIs for Leroy, while Howard had two.

In the seventh, Layla Ingram and Madi Ham each hit singles, but to put runners on first and second, but a flashy defensive play by Campbell Newell ended the game.

"It's like I told them, the team that plays the best defense I think is going to come out on top today," Steward said. "We made some errors in the field, but that last inning we fought back and had a chance to tie it up. They just made the play."

Spring Garden took an early 5-1 lead after scoring two runs in the first inning and three in the second. The early surge was led by Kayley Kirk and Helena Ingram, who each totaled two RBIs apiece in the first two innings.

Ingram would drive in another run in the top of the sixth to finish 3-for-4 with a team-high three RBIs. Her four total bases tied Avery Steward for a team-high.

"They put the runner ahead of her, then she came out with a big hit and scored a run," Steward said. "That's just stepping up and doing your part at the moment."

Pitcher Avery Steward, second baseman Maggie Ready and left fielder Madi Ham all finished with two hits, with the pitcher totaling a team-high three runs.

Kayley Kirk finished with two runs, while Olivia Law finished with one.

Spring Garden will face Verbena in the first round of the loser's bracket. Verbena fell to Waterloo in its first-round game.

"We played great, it's just one hit, one play, one error and that's a different ballgame," the Spring Garden coach said. "Like I told them, you can't score in the first two and sit back and not score anymore till the end, but I was proud of how they showed up and played today."

Sports Writer Thomas Ashworth: 256-236-1551. On Twitter: @ThomasAshworth0.