The Ethel softball season came to an end with 11-6 and 12-1 losses to Stringer in the third round of the 1A playoffs.
Both games were close until the late innings. In the first game at home, Ethel trailed 7-6 before surrendering four runs in the seventh. The second game was scoreless through two and 2-0 for Stringer after four. The Lady Red Devils broke it open with four runs in the fifth and six in the sixth.
Ethel Coach Tyler McKinley attributed the late inning struggles to youth. The Lady Tigers have only one senior and two seventh graders in the starting lineup.
Stringer's four-run seventh in Game One started with an infield error and “kid of snowballed” after that, McKinley said.
Ethel had four hits in the first game. Jaidyn Sims had a double, scored two runs and drove in one. Jasmine Johnson, Brailyn Rone and Lizzy Rae Ellington had the other hits.
In the second game, two Stringer pitchers held Ethel to one hit by Rone, who scored the Lady Tigers' run. Macee Sisson had the RBI.
Ethel finished third in Region 5-1A, then reached the third round with series sweeps of Sacred Heart and McEvans.
“I'm not disappointed in the least.” McKinley said of the loss to Stringer. “I'm very proud of the girls. They had to overcome a lot of obstacles. I think they will be better next year because of what they went through this year.”
Two Lady Tigers were named to the 5-1A all star team, Johnson, a junior at first base and Sims, the lone senior in the starting lineup, at shortstop. Rone and Elena White, both seventh graders, made the second team, Rone in the outfield and White as a pitcher.
McKinley also had praised for Autumn Sims, an eighth grader who moved up from the junior varsity team during the season as the starting catcher.
McKinley plans to have a summer program in June. Looking ahead to next year, he said improved maturity and better base running are needed. “Our maturity level is low and that's because of the age of most of our girls. And our base running has to improve. We're not doing the little things to put pressure on other teams.
Stringer won Region 7-1A and is third ranked among 1A teams in the state according to the website MaxPreps. The Lady Red Devils will play7-1A runne-rup Sebastopol in the South State final.