The St. James softball team faced off against Salem to open Districts on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Salem was able to build a lead early that St. James was never able to dig out of in an 18-4 loss in four and a half innings.
Salem was able to strike first in the bottom of the first. The Lady Tigers first got on the board with a two-run double by Brooke Adams, before two more runs were walked in. Walks plagued St. James all night long and that started with five in the first inning, as Salem took a 4-0 lead. St. James punched back in the top of the second. Alyssa Doris was the first St. James player to touch home plate, scoring as Mckenzie Brennan reached on an error. After Scout Paulus was hit by a pitch, Hunter Pitts smacked a two-run double to cut the score to 4-3.
Salem then scored a run in the bottom of the second, before St. James responded with a run of their own in the top of the third when Bailey Ambrose scored off a groundout by Doris. That brought the score to 5-4. After that, it was all Salem.
Salem scored six runs in the bottom of the third to start to break away. They nearly ended the game in four innings by exploding for nine runs in the fourth, but a runner was stranded on third to give St. James one more chance at a comeback. St. James went down in order on a pair of hard line drives, before Ambrose reached on an error and was thrown out trying to reach second. That ended the game and allowed Salem to advance to the District Semi-Final with an 18-4 win.
Marcee pitched for St. James and struggled with walks on the night. She walked 12 batters, while surrendering 13 hits. 11 of Salem's 18 runs were earned in the loss. Offensively, St. James managed just three hits, two of which came from Pitts.
"We know we can't allow that many free bases, especially when you get to the postseason," said head coach Brad Purvis after the game. "That many free bases is going to come back to haunt you, because it turns into a little hit there, a hit there and the next thing you know they've strung three or four hits together and they put five or six runs on the board and that happened a couple innings tonight and that kept us chasing."
It's always tough to end your season with a loss, especially with a big senior class like St. James has. Coach Purvis has loved his time with the seven seniors on this year's team and knows they will be missed.
"I'm so proud of this seven. As I was telling them in our postgame, there aren't enough words in the vocabulary for me to express my gratitude for what they've done, what they've meant to this program and what they've meant to me," said the St. James head coach. "It's always hard, the last game is the toughest one, but they are seven seniors that have impacted my life and I can guarantee you that. I hope that they're going to do great things and they're going to be dearly missed."