LARAMIE – Janey Adair deposited the second pitch she saw Saturday afternoon over the center field fence at the Sandy Aragon Softball Complex.
That was all the offense either Laramie or Cheyenne South mustered for a few frames. Then the Lady Plainsmen’s bats came alive long enough to pad the lead for a 5-1 victory in the season finale for both squads.
“We strung hits together,” Laramie coach Luke Andrews said. “When you put the ball into play, you increase the chances something good is going to happen, and that’s what we did.
“We had quite a few hard hit balls, strung hits together and capitalized on a few mistakes. That third inning was big for us.”
The Plainsmen (6-6 overall, 6-6 East Conference) pushed four runs across in the third inning. Sophomore Baily Isaak led off with a single to left, and then Adair was hit by a pitch. Freshman Emilee Sidoreus drove home courtesy runner Marisol Gomez on a single to left for a 2-0 advantage.
Senior catcher Colby Stickelman followed with a two-run single to left that plated Adair and Sidoreus for a 4-0 lead. Stickelman scored on a double to left by senior third baseman Alicia Swinford to put Laramie up 5-0.
“We all got our timing down that inning,” Stickelman said. “We have had three games this week and we saw three different types of pitchers, so it took us some time to get our timing down.
“It was a little tricky, but we got it. We needed to see (South starter Michaela Moorehouse) at least once and then see some other girls get some hits off her.”
Laramie got four runs on four hits during the third, and that was the only real offense for the majority of the game. Both Adair and Moorehouse kept bats on ice by filling up the strike zone. Adair finished with 15 strikeouts, while Moorehouse fanned 11.
“(Adair) throws with a lot of speed and accuracy and makes it hard for you to see the ball,” said South freshman catcher Alyssa Albaugh, who was 2 for 2 with a walk. “You have to be able to see it to hit it, and she really made us work for it.
“By the seventh inning, we had seen her enough times, gotten out of our heads a little bit and gotten some confidence that allowed us to finally get some hits.”
The Bison (2-10, 2-10) refused to go away quietly.
Moorehouse led off the seventh with a single down the third base line, and advanced to second on MaKenna Harlan’s single through the left side. South loaded the bases when Laramie shortstop Macy McKinney couldn’t make a backhand pickup on Andraya Dimas’ grounder into the hole.
South senior left fielder Baizelle Cozad drove home Moorehouse and cut the deficit to 5-1 with a hard infield single that caromed off the tip of Adair’s glove.
Adair struck out Grace Cahill for the first out of the inning. The Bison’s second out came on a force out at home on Darcy Deibert’s chopper to Swinford at third. Adair got a swinging strikeout from Allie Robért to end the game.
Tears flowed down the cheeks of South players as they huddled after the game. Coach Curtis Quigley encouraged them to leave the field with their heads held high because of how far a fairly inexperienced team had come this season.
The Bison’s losses to Laramie were a testament to that progress, he said. The Plainsmen picked up an 11-1 win May 4 in Cheyenne, but had to fight their way to a four-run win Saturday.
“We competed and grew all season long,” Quigley said. “We competed hard at times in this game and put ourselves in position to tie the game or take the lead. We kept fighting and we showed teams we’re weren’t going to be a pushover.
“(Adair) is probably the best pitcher in the state, and we adjusted to her late and started putting the ball in play and started making things happen. That’s what they learned to do this year.”
LARAMIE 5, SOUTH 1
Cheyenne South…… 000 000 1 – 1 6 2
Laramie…… 104 000 X – 5 6 3
Cheyenne South pitching: Moorehouse and Albaugh. Laramie pitching: Adair and Stickelman.
W: Adair (6-5). L: Moorehouse.
2B: Laramie 1 (Swinford). HR: Laramie 1 (Adair).