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Lady Hurricanes hand 'Toppers heartbreaking loss

Tanner Cook • May 14, 2019 at 1:19 AM

MORRISTOWN — It’s a shame that someone had to lose Monday night’s pitcher’s duel in the Region 1-AAA softball semifinals at King Park.

Morristown East took a 2-1 decision in nine innings over Science Hill (32-11) to advance to Wednesday’s final against the winner between Daniel Boone and Jefferson County.

Science Hill was eliminated.

Science Hill sophomore pitcher and District 1-AAA pitcher of the year Sejal Neas walked in the winning run for Morristown East on a 3-2 count with two outs after Morristown East (36-5) got a one-out single from leadoff hitter Kaitlyn Harper.

After Harper stole second and Olivia Harris grounded out to third and advanced the runner, the next two batters were intentionally walked to set up a forceout at any base.

The Lady Hilltoppers then did the one thing that you cannot do in that situation.

“I go by the numbers and the numbers say walk both of those batters to make it easier on yourself,” Science Hill coach Jerry Higgins said.

“You just have to throw strikes. You have to hope for a strikeout or groundout or something. ... I’ll do that 100 times out of 100.”

The Lady Hurricanes scored the first run of the ballgame on back-to-back errors at third base.

However, that run was eventually washed when Shayna Price hit a home run to right field off the scoreboard to tie the game in the sixth inning.

Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score but could not push many runners past second base, let alone across home plate.

Science Hill left nine runners on base while Morristown East left 13.

The Lady ’Toppers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position while the Lady ’Canes were 0-for-10.

Morristown East pitcher Emma Frost put together a masterful performance in the circle, striking out 17 batters in a complete game on 139 pitches.

Neas was not shabby in the circle, either. She recorded four strikeouts and coaxed numerous grounders and popups on 152 pitches.

“That was just two great teams playing a great game and someone has to lose. It was our turn to lose today,” Higgins said. “From last year to this year, this season has been a tremendous turnaround. Last year, we had a lot of internal problems. I missed half the season with my situation at home.

“Our goal every year is to make it to the region. I’m proud of the girls.”