“That’s been our storyline all year,” Lively said. “If you’re going to make errors, which every team is going to do, then you need to produce hits. The first game this morning we did, but against Pisgah we weren’t very disciplined on the hitting part tonight.”
When Saks got its chance to tie the game in the bottom of fourth, more mental mistakes ensued. The loss set up an elimination game with sixth-ranked White Plains at 9 a.m today.
After Laken Haynes singled to start the inning, pinch-runner Miracle Dennard advanced to third on two wild pitches with no outs. Taylor West hit a grounder in the infield. West reached first on a fielder’s choice, but Dennard was out at home, running on the throw.
“She one of the fastest kids I’ve ever seen in my life, but I felt like she didn’t get a good jump on it,” Lively said. “She’s a seventh-grader, and I felt she was kind of questioning if she should stay or go.”
Haley Moore pinch ran for West and advanced to third following a single by Kelly Kilgore and a successful double steal. With two outs in the inning, Kendra Prater walked on a full count. Moore jogged toward the plate and was tagged out halfway home.
“It was just miscommunication between Haley and me,” Lively said. “She’s also a young runner, which doesn’t matter, but we just read the signs wrong and read the count wrong. She had a big lead, and just … brain farts.”
The loss came after a 2-1 win over fourth-ranked Winfield in the morning.
“We just have to drop it. We can’t think about it anymore because if we don’t win we’re done,” West said. “I think we’re all fine right now. Nobody seemed down and we know we have to win four games to win a trophy.”
Less than 12 hours after the game ended, Saks was already set to meet White Plains for the seventh battle between the two this season. Although White Plains has won the last five meetings, Lively showed confidence Friday night.
“I feel like this is our time,” she said. “We came into the year with confidence and we beat them the first time, and I think we’ll come out on top tomorrow just because of the experience level.”
West said her team needs to simply “hit the ball and make our plays.” She added, “They’ll take care of their game tomorrow,” in regard to the two unearned runs the defense allowed Friday.
Even though White Plains has gotten the best of Saks five out of six times this season, Lively was quick to remember that Saks has been to the state tournament each of the past five years — as opposed to White Plains only making it to Montgomery the past two seasons. Saks also won the Class 3A championship last year and eliminated White Plains two years ago in the elimination bracket quarterfinals.
“I feel like they’re just still getting the hang of being here, but some of us are, too, because it’s their first year being here,” Lively said. “But this is where we thrive and we understand that this is it. We understand tomorrow is it no matter what happens. Tomorrow is it.”
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.