PICKERINGTON — The East Knox Bulldogs fell one or two hits shy of knocking off another favored team on Monday evening, falling to the eighth-seeded Bishop Ready Silver Knights, 7-5, in their Central District softball tournament matchup at Pickerington Central High School.
The Bulldogs, who took out the No. 3 seed Mount Gilead in their previous game, were not expected to go away quietly and they didn’t. Not bad for a team that finished the season a mediocre 11-12.
“I’m extremely proud of my girls,” said East Knox coach Mandy Cutnaw. “We have nine kids and they have just fought and worked all season. It would have been great to move on but we got this far and played a great ballgame. We put ourselves in a position to win.”
A two-run homer to left by first baseman Morgan McVay in the third inning gave a the Bulldogs the lead, 3-1.
Starting pitcher Tessa Simmons (5 IP, 4 H, 2 K) pitched five strong innings, but left the game down 5-3 after facing five batters in a shakey sixth. A passed ball and a pair of defensive blunders left the bases loaded with nobody out.
“(The Silver Knights) are really good hitters,” said Simmons. “They really put the bat on the ball. Morgan and I tried to get those drop balls and screwballs in there to get them to ground out.”
That was when McVay came on in relief and set down the next three batters to keep the Bulldogs in the game.
“I haven’t pitched the last three games,” said McVay. “I’m a little sore but I did the best I could.”
“It’s really been a blessing to have two great pitchers,” said Cutnaw. “When the other team starts hitting, we’ve got another one to step right up. Morgan’s a closer. That kid is tough. Both of them are tough kids. They are definitely going to be missed next year.”
Down 7-4 in the last inning, McVay drew a one-out walk and went to second when Olivia Buckingham’s pop fly single dropped in to put runners at first and second. Shortstop Bridget Dennis, who was next, delivered with an RBI double.