Dayton's softball season ends at hands of Vikings

Gar-Pal rides a five-run second inning to a 6-3 district softball playoff victory over Dayton Thursday.

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Garfield-Palouse base runner Madi Woltering (No. 8) bowls over Dayton catcher Nicole Lockard as Lockard makes the out at the plate to end the Vikings' five-run second inning Thursday.

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Dayton base runner Jessica Tate (No. 11) steams toward third base as the Garfield-Palouse defense gets the ball back to the infield during Thursday's game.

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Dayton second baseman McKayla Bickelhaupt makes a diving stop with her glove and shoulder as the ball bounces next to her during the second inning of the Bulldog's district playoff game against Garfield-Palouse Thursday.

DAYTON - Dayton's softball season ended in a 6-3 district playoff loss to Garfield-Palouse here Thursday.

The Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed heading into district play, finished the season 11-9 overall. They swept the Vikings in a doubleheader earlier this month.

Gar-Pal was the No. 6 seed.

Dayton gave up one run early in the first inning, but the second inning created a mountain of runs the Bulldogs couldn't recover from on the cold, windy spring day.

"We should still be playing," said Dayton head coach Terry Robins. "We just didn't get the job done today."

In the second inning, the Vikings scored five runs - including a two-run double off the bat of Tina Shea that nicked the back fence - all before the second out, and quickly took a 6-0 run.

Shea's RBIs were the last scores of the inning.

Viking Madi Woltering advanced to third off a single and Shea's double, and tried to run home on a double Kelsye Lopez. Wottering was bolting down the baseline when Dayton catcher Nicole Lockard - and the Bulldog's only senior - took a pass off shortstop Jessica Tate on the line. Wottering crashed into her, sending both girls to the dirt.

Although Lockard dropped the ball after hitting the ground, Wottering was ruled out, ending Dayton's inning and eliciting arguments from both sides of the infield.

The out stood, and Gar-Pal's five-running inning - and all of the Vikes scoring - ended.

Dayton scored once in the bottom of the second with a Rowene Huwe single, bringing Jessica Tate home.

Although the Bulldogs managed to pack the bases several times in the next few innings, advancing two runners to third and three to second, they wouldn't score again until the two-run sixth inning.

After singling, McKayla Bickelhaupt scored on a double off the bat of Samantha Harting. Harting advanced to third off a single by Claire Lyman, and came home off a sac by Nicole Lambert.

Dayton pitcher Kayla Turner saw three hitters in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh, and just four in the fourth.

Gar-Pal wouldn't score again, but the Bulldogs couldn't overcome the Vikings earlier six runs and couldn't bring stranded runners home.

"We didn't put up hits when we needed to," said Robins. "We got the bases loaded a couple of times, and we couldn't get the job done."

Gar-Pal pitcher Emily Witthuhn sat girls down when she needed to, Robins said.

"Their pitcher did really good," he said. "She pitched very well. She'll be really tough to beat next year."

With the Bulldogs losing only one senior, Robins hopes they'll be competitive next year, too.

"I think we'll be really strong," he said. "It's all in the pitching. We've got to have the pitching."

And several Dayton girls are learning, he said. He said he was pleased with Turner's pitching, especially in later innings.

Next year's Bulldogs should return six rising juniors, two sophomores and five freshman.

Lockard, the team's only senior, ended the season with tears and dashed hopes, Robins said.

"She's a good kid," he said. "It's taken four years to make her a ballplayer, and we finally got there."

Lockard will attend Eastern Washington University, Robins said.

The team will also lose four junior foreign exchange students. Two of them played on the varsity level occasionally, Robins said.

"They had a really good time," he said. "They were always at practice with us."

The last game of the year was clean, and the end of the season is always hard, Robins said.

"We didn't make many errors," he said. "We played a good game, but the one inning really got us. They got too many good hits. I'm not disappointed with the game or the players - we needed hits a couple of times and that didn't happen."

Gar-Pal 6, Dayton 3

Gar-Pal 150 000 0 - 6 5 2

Dayton 010 002 0 - 3 8 3

Em. Witthurn and Er. Witthurn. Turner and Lockard.

HR - none.

Hits - G-P: Shea, Woltering, Lopez, Najerg, Marotta. Day: Harting, Lyman 3, Varney, Huwe, Bickelhaupt.

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