Lady Flashes bounced from playoffs

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

In one afternoon, St. Aloysius’ remarkable postseason roll hit a brick wall and came to a sudden, screeching halt.

Mackenzie Johnson homered twice as Nanih Waiya beat St. Al 12-6 in Game 2 of their Class 1A quarterfinal series in Louisville.

Once that was over, pitcher Brantlie Sheets held St. Al to two earned runs as the Lady Warriors won Game 3, 6-2, to take the series and advance to the South State finals.

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St. Al finished its season with a 12-9-1 record and its best playoff showing in 13 years. It was trying to reach the Class 1A semifinals for the first time since 2002, when its current coach Candice Reeder was a senior catcher for the team.

Grace Upshaw

Grace Upshaw

“It was a heartbreaker. I hate it for my seniors. They gave it everything they had,” Reeder said. “We made a good run for it and it just wasn’t meant to be. We wanted to make it to South State really bad, but we made it through three rounds of the playoffs. I think we were one heck of a three-seed.”

Things started off well for the Lady Flashes. They scored three times in the top of the first inning in Game 2 as Grace Upshaw belted a two-run home run.

Upshaw was 3-for-4 with five RBIs in the game, and Allie Willis was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Things went south in a hurry in the middle innings, however. Johnson hit a three-run home run and Sheets an RBI triple as Nanih Waiya scored five times in the third to grab the lead.

Ashlie Thames added a two-run double in the fourth inning as Nanih Waiya (13-9) stretched the lead to 8-3, and in the sixth Johnson and Krysten Eaves both homered to put an exclamation point on the win.

St. Al regained some momentum early in Game 3, but it followed the exact same script.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Lady Flashes didn’t score again. Nanih Waiya tied the game with two unearned runs in the third inning, took the lead with three in the fourth — Thames hit a two-run homer after another unearned run had scored — and an RBI single by Eaves in the sixth made it 6-2.

Sheets retired nine of the last 10 batters she faced as St. Al faded down the stretch.

After committing just four errors in its first five playoff games, the Lady Flashes had eight in Monday’s doubleheader.

Nanih Waiya also had nine extra base hits in the doubleheader, including four home runs.

“We had some errors on defense, but I’m not going to take anything away from (Nanih Waiya). They hit the ball really hard. I don’t even know how many home runs they had,” Reeder said. “When they started hitting the ball, they started hitting the ball. Just like we did at home when we had that rally that kept going and going, they did the same thing.”