Nederland Bulldogs’ season comes to halt in Dayton

Published 10:25 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

By Michael Sudhalter
Special to The News
DAYTON — The Nederland High softball team achieved a great deal this season, but the 2017 campaign came to an end on a windy Liberty County evening.
The Bulldogs (21-12-1), District 22-5A champions, started one last rally to save their season, but they fell to host Dayton, 9-4, in Game 2 of a best-of-three 5A bi-district playoff series.
“Our theme this season was to be fearless, and no matter what, our team showed what our motto was all about,” Nederland assistant coach Kristin Lemoine said.
Dayton, the fourth place team in 21-5A, swept the series, which included Thursday’s 7-5 Game 1 victory at Nederland.
Bulldogs fifth-year head coach Will Mallette declined an interview, deferring to Lemoine, as he held an extended post-game discussion with the team’s 10 graduating seniors.
Nederland had plenty of opportunities against Dayton (23-6), leaving a total of nine runners on base, including four over the first two innings.
Dayton freshman shortstop Amanda Carden hit a solo home run on the first pitch of the Broncos’ first at bat.
“That gave them a lot of momentum, but it put a lot of fire in us to come back,” Lemoine said.
Dayton scored a total of six more runs during the third and fourth innings, respectively, including an RBI double from sophomore catcher Ally McKinney for a 7-0 lead.
Nederland stormed back in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Senior catcher Madelyn Daniel (2-for-4 with two RBI) scored the Bulldogs’ first run on an RBI single, and senior outfielder Hannah Smith (2-for-4) followed that up with an RBI double.
In the fifth inning, Nederland continued to close the gap with an RBI double by junior third baseman Amanda Longlet. Freshman shortstop Brittany Taylor went 2-for-3 in the game.
Dayton put a damper on the Bulldogs’ rally when freshman Haylie Burns belted a two-run home run to center field for a 9-4 lead.
Nederland, which shared the district championship with Port Neches-Groves last season, won it outright this spring.
“We fought all season,” Lemoine said. “We had a rough start, but we came back and won the district championship.”

I.C. Murrell contributed to this article.

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