Extra effort not enough for Heritage
BUFFALO — Seven innings, three hits allowed, six strikeouts and no walks was Hilary Smith's stat line in Heritage's sectional semifinal Wednesday.
In any other matchup, she could have easily won the game. Against Cumberland, ranked 11th in the final Class 1A coaches poll, it was only enough to force extra innings.
Smith did not allow the Pirates as much as a hard hit before the eighth inning. With one out, however, Cumberland's Taylor Layton hit a liner just over the top of Micaela Childress' glove to get on base. Jordan Plummer followed with a line-drive double down the right-field line for a 1-0 walkoff win.
The liner ended Heritage's (28-4) season, but coach Lisa Boyer still was thinking positively about her team after the loss.
"We can only be proud of this game. We went eight innings in a sectional game against a team that is state-ranked and used to going to the state tournament," she said. "We never lost our composure, our kids were level and I thought they did a great job."
The Hawks' sectional semifinal was a pitcher's duel, with Smith and Shana Marti mowing down hitters. Smith allowed five base runners in her seven-plus innings, relying on the strong defense behind her to reach extra innings.
Marti, on the other hand, blew the Hawks away. She struck out 17 Heritage batters, allowing one hit and walking none. With both pitchers dominating, the game took 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Though the game went by fast, Boyer was certain this experience would stick with the girls for years.
"We've had a great season, and it's tough because it's the seniors' last game. They have given so much," she said. "They've done things no one else has done because they wanted to win. They've given everything, and I'm so proud of them."
In the last four years Heritage has won 97 games, culminating with the first softball regional in school history. Though the team will lose four seniors, Boyer has high hopes for Heritage's future.