Billingsley softball simply just didn’t have enough left in the tank.
The Bears’ day started at 8 a.m. and ended nearly 10 hours later after stepping off the bus.
In the Class 1A South Central regional tournament, Billingsley grinded its way through the loser’s bracket to the runner-up game before dropping a 14-4 season-ending defeat to Fayetteville on Saturday.
“We just ran out of gas,” Bears coach J.T. Lawrence said. “We’re proud of the girls for how far they’ve come. I think they’ve set the tone for things to come from Billingsley softball. I think they’re exciting things on the way from this young group.”
Billingsley had to rally for wins over Faith Academy and Wadley, respectively, before facing a well-rested Fayetteville squad. The Bears burned through most of their energy during its three-hour long matchup with Wadley, a game that ended in the 13th inning.
The future of the program appears to be bright for Lawrence’s team. Billingsley (16-13) carried only one senior — starting pitcher Summer Gaither — on its 2013 roster, while the rest consisted of underclassmen and middle schoolers.
Valley 8, Marbury 2
The Bulldogs were all smiles after finishing off Homewood in their first game of the 5A loser’s bracket at the regional tourney.
That all changed when Valley strolled onto the field.
Marbury (18-15-1) had hoped to register its first victory over its foe from Area 5, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“It’s tough to play someone three or four times,” Bulldogs coach Jonathan Seamon said. “We’ve seen what they’ve got, and they’ve seen what we had. It’s just had to keep playing someone back-to-back-to-back and expect to pull something out.”
Seamon relied heavily on the contributions from several middle schoolers during Marbury’s initial campaign at the 5A level.
“I think this team right here is about two years away from being able to really compete at the 5A level,” said Seamon, who is stepping down as coach to spend more time with his family. “I think next year the majority of this team will be ninth- and tenth-graders.
“It’s hard to ask a lot from 13-year-olds.”
Oak Grove 2, Holtville 1
There were a lot of long tearful hugs following the final out of Holtville’s disappointing setback in the 4A runner-up game.
But for the five seniors — Chontanee Combs, Cameron Wilson, Hannah Ray, Beth Garner and Kendall Cox — the season-ending loss perhaps hurt just a little more than the rest of their teammates because they were ones who have been under Bulldogs coach Robert Rollan’s guidance since junior high.
After going undefeated on Day 1 of the regional tournament, Holtville (28-17) got bounced into the loser’s bracket behind its 10-1 loss t Corner. The Bulldogs were hoping for a return trip to Lagoon Park, where they finished third at last spring’s state tourney.
“Holtville is great,” said Oak Grove coach Jeff Benson, whose team loss to Holtville 3-0 on Friday. “Of the 4A talent, they might have been the best team here. …We would have liked to have seen anyone besides them because I think very highly of their program.”