SETH — The maroon-and-gold’s season has ended.
Following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of No. 2 Man High School on Friday, the top-seeded Sherman High School Lady Tide took on the No. 4 Buffalo High Lady Bison at home on Monday and fell to the Lady Bison at home, 6-4.
The winner of this game earned the chance to play Man for a shot at Class A Region 4 action. Sophomore Chloe Treadway returned to the mound to pitch for the Lady Tide. Freshman Alex Hill threw for Buffalo.
After two well-defended innings from both squads, the Lady Bison struck first in inning three.
With one out, junior Katie Darnley hit a single. A home run from junior Abby Darnley saw both players score and gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead over the home team.
This was Abby Darnley’s fourth home run in the 2021 season. She was All-State as a freshman and has been recruited by Marshall University.
Soon after this two-run homer, Treadway recorded consecutive strikeouts to end the top of the inning. Inning 5 had two outs for Buffalo when Alex Hill and sophomore Riley Russell’s back-to-back doubles led to two more runs to raise their team’s lead to 4-0.
The pressure was on Sherman to close the gap and prevent more runs.
Closing the deficit, while difficult, was the Lady Tide’s sole focus.
As the bottom of the sixth inning opened with a key error to get junior Hailea Skeens on base with one out, she would score Sherman’s first run over a double by fellow junior Bailey Lafferty’s double, which was followed by junior Shaylee Lewis’s single.
A high fly ball resulted in two outs, but a walk to senior McKenzie Dickens loaded the bases and created a chance for Sherman to potentially retake the lead. Buffalo’s defense came in clutch, as a throw from Katie Darnley at shortstop to first base prevented their opponents from capitalizing on this chance.
Buffalo then, in the seventh inning, extended its lead once more off the second home run of the night, hit by sophomore Rachael Affolter for her second home run of the season.
This occurred directly after Russell’s second base hit of the night, and the 4-0 score turned into 6-0. Sherman had one last chance to tie the game up in the final half of the frame.
Freshman Laura Guthrie, senior Chelsea Thompson, and Hailea Skeens all reached home in consecutive at-bats to suddenly make it a much closer 6-4 game with zero outs. Chloe Treadway, who recorded the hit that brought them there, was tagged out at second. There was one out, but Lafferty found herself on first. But one last clutch moment ended this rally, as a 6-4-3 gave the Lady Bison the double play they needed to end the inning, the game, and Sherman’s postseason with a victory.
Sherman’s head coach Jim Henderson congratulated Buffalo on the win.
“They came out with something to prove, and we played flat until the last inning,” the coach said.
Henderson noted that the team had beaten Buffalo convincingly on two occasions before and that the team had played without that same fire.
“I guess that’s my fault, I should have had them better prepared for the situation at hand. This group of girls are very capable of bouncing back next season and winning the whole thing.”
Despite Sherman’s 14-5 regular season, Henderson believes the team did not achieve the expectations to be the No. 1 team in their section again.
“I want to thank the senior girls for their leadership. As for the underclassmen, they have something to prove. Hopefully they will work hard on their physical and mental aspects of the game and come into next season with a chip on their shoulder.”
It was clear that for Henderson, losing this section after years of domination leaves him looking to next season to achieve that success once more.
“It had been a nice run, winning eight consecutive sectional tournaments, three regional tournaments, and capping it off with the ultimate prize of state champions in 2019. Losing leaves a sour taste in your mouth, so hopefully the girls will continue to work and strive to get back to the top.”
Bailey Lafferty saw a hit in all four of her at-bats in the game. Lauren Guthrie recorded three hits over four at-bats.
Hailea Skeens, who was playing with an injured wrist from Friday’s game, scored two runs for the Lady Tide. Chloe Treadway recorded an impressive eight strikeouts over the game.
For Buffalo, Abby Darnley and Alex Hill each enjoyed three hits, which resulted in one run in four at-bats. Riley Russell batted 2-for-4, with substituting sophomore Kaylee Myles reaching home each time. The two home runs were scored by Abby Darnley and Rachael Affolter.
Buffalo (5-9-1) plays Man (15-2) on June 8 in the sectional finals. Buffalo must win twice in order to overtake the Lady Hillbillies.