AUSTIN, Texas -- After putting up huge scores against opponents in the last three postseason rounds, Forney got a bitter taste of its own medicine Saturday in the Class 4A state softball final.
Santa Fe put together a seven-run rally in the bottom of the fifth, leading to a 10-3 victory over Forney and a state title.
“I sat there watching that and thought that this must be how Midway felt yesterday when we did the same thing,” Forney coach Eric Montgomery said. “Strung a few together and all of the sudden we put seven on the board.”
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Forney allowed eight straight Santa Fe batters to reach base. The seven-run rally consisted of seven doubles and a hit batter, highlighted by MVP Ciara Sunseri's three-RBI double. Forney didn't record the final two outs of the inning until Santa Fe had batted around.
“You get those little rallies then all of the sudden everyone starts feeling it -- it’s like a disease and then you roll with it” Montgomery said of Santa Fe’s rally.
Starting pitcher Macie Tillery didn’t quite have the same stuff she threw to Waco Midway in Friday’s semifinals, forcing Montgomery to make a move to Allie Miller in the fifth. Tillery threw 4 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs on nine hits.
“When we couldn’t get the corners working it became batting practice just because she’s trying to get it over the plate,” Montgomery said. “She’s a typical in-and-out pitcher … and we just couldn’t catch the outside corner and then couldn’t catch the inside corner.”
Santa Fe added two more off Miller in the sixth, combined with a run in the fourth -- accounting for the 10 Santa Fe runs.
Forney’s first run was blasted out of the park in the third at-bat of the game by sophomore first baseman Taylor LeFlore. The arching shot easily cleared the left-field fence and one-hopped against an RV parked on the street outside McCombs Field.
Forney attempted to start a few rallies and was able to put two on the board in the sixth, but running errors plagued the Jackrabbits throughout. Forney had a baserunner picked off first at the end of a play in the third, another picked off third in the fifth while trying to force a throw to first with runners at the corners and ended the sixth with a runner thrown out trying to take an extra base.
Any errors aside, Santa Fe was able to put up 13 hits, a feat that Montgomery said is hard to overcome, especially in the state finals.
“You face a team that puts 13 hits up on the board -- it’s a tough way to win any game,” he said.