The Port Arthur News
As quickly as Nicole Matise swung the bat, the Nederland Lady Bulldogs season was done.
Matise smoked a pitch off Dayton pitcher Presley Bell but it lined right back to the mound. Bell caught the ball and threw to first to get the force and end Game 3 with a 6-2 Dayton win.
Nederland won Game 2, 2-0, earlier Saturday after losing Game 1, 6-4, on Friday.
The Lady Bulldogs season ended with Nederland being 20-10 overall and 11-3 in District 20-4A.
“Right now it seems so hard to think its over,” Nederland senior Tori Cooper said. “We played a great team this weekend. I was so impressed all year with our team and what we accomplished this year with only four seniors.”
Dayton broke Game 3 open in the top of the fourth when Sarah Ashby hit a two-run single to put Dayton up 3-0.
The Lady Broncos added another run in the fifth before Nederland struck for its only two runs of the game in the sixth.
Taylor Davis scored on a RBI single by Bailey Beard and Hannah Smith, who had earlier doubled, scored when Madelyn Daniel reached on a fielder’s choice.
Dayton quickly got the two runs back in the top of the seventh and then the Lady Broncos got real defensive to end the series.
Cooper’s last at bat as a Lady Bulldogs ended with a fine play by Dayton center fielder Alexis Kimball. Kimball made an over the shoulder catch at the fence to rob Cooper of a potential double.
Savana Guidry then singled before Matise hit into the game-ending double play.
“It is hard to believe that we will wake up tomorrow and not be playing softball,” Nederland coach Will Malette said. “We played as hard as we could. This loss won’t sink in for a while. It is difficult because you work so hard to get to this point and it is over that fast.”
Malette gave a lot of credit to a duo of Lady Broncos pitchers who made life tough for Nederland to be consistent at the plate.
Bell is headed to the University of Houston while Game 1 and Game 2 starter Chelsea Hostetler is going to Stetson University in Florida.
“They are great pitchers,” Malette said. “I thought we hit the ball well today against two hard throwing pitchers. We put the ball in play but just needed a few more timely hits.”
Game 2 was 0-0 until the bottom of the sixth when Nederland was finally able to get runs against Hostetler.
Kelsey Beard started the inning off with a single and then scored all the way from first on a Dayton throwing error.
Davis later scored when Bailey Beard had a RBI groundout.
Madyson Guidry pitched a gem in Game 2 for Nederland. Guidry allowed two hits in seven innings with no runs and two walks.
Guidry only lasted 3.2 innings in Game 3 and gave up three runs on five hits with one walk and two strike outs.
Cooper finished the game for the Lady Bulldogs in Game 3.
“It is always hard to realize it is your last game,” Cooper, who is headed to Arkansas University, said. “Dayton had two great pitchers and we battled hard. Both the losses we had in this series came down to errors. We had them in Game 1 and Game 3 and in Game 2 we played solid defense. You can’t have mistakes against a team like Dayton.”