By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sometimes getting out to a big lead causes a team to relax.
On Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, the Hilldale Lady Hornets jumped out to an 8-0 lead after two innings only to see No. 1 Cache come roaring back with four each in the third and fourth and three in the fifth, leading the Lady Bulldogs to a 11-10 win in the Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals.
Hilldale’s season ends at 30-6.
“This is one of the toughest losses I’ve had in a long time,” said Hilldale coach Darren Riddle. We were hitting the ball real well, getting good pitching and playing solid defense.
“Those middle three innings, Cache showed why they’re the top team in the state.”
The Lady Hornets looked as though they were going to rout the Lady Bulldogs when they sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning and put six runs on the board. Casady Mills began the hit parade with a double and was followed by singles by Destiny Riddle, McKensie Plant, Toni McMillan and Hillary Calvert.
Katie Keifer followed with a double and when Kallie Casey and Mills collected two singles, the Lady Hornets were up 6-0.
After Destiny Riddle retired the side in order in the top of the second, the Lady Hornets added two runs in the second inning for their 8-0 lead. Plant began the production with a one-out double and came home on a single by McMillan and McMillan eventually scored on a single by Keifer.
But wherever Cache left its bats to begin the game, the Lady Bulldogs discovered them with four runs on five hits in the third and the comeback was on. Cache would tie the game with four more runs in the fourth in most part because of three hit batters, all of whom scored.
“All of a sudden, I couldn’t find my spots,” Destiny Riddle said. “Then they started playing in the spots on defense where we were hitting the balls which they weren’t in the beginning.”
Cache would grab the lead in the fifth with three runs on five hits to make the score 11-8. But the Lady Hornets wouldn’t die as Keifer cut the margin to one with a two-run home run but Cache pitcher Tate Landmark retired Emily Dowdy and Mills to end the game.
“We didn’t quit,” said the elder Riddle. “We knew we were in for a dogfight. We just came out on the short end.
“But we have everyone except Katie coming back. This one will hurt for a while, but we’ll be back.”