Softball: Morris rolls past Plano, into 3A regional championship game

Morris tops Reapers 11-1 in five innings, now takes on Ottawa for title on Saturday

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OTTAWA – The Morris softball team used a combination of bunts, slaps and speed to go along with the pitching of Ella Davis to record an 11-1 victory over Plano in Tuesday’s semifinal of the Class 3A Ottawa Regional at King Field.

Morris scored in all four innings at the plate, including a five-run fourth, and finished with 12 hits, while Davis scattered four hits and struck out eight.

Morris (23-11) now advances to Saturday’s 1 p.m. championship game against host Ottawa, a rematch of last season’s title game, won by Morris 1-0. The Reapers finished the season at 6-22.

“Plano played some sick defense today, and credit to them for really making us earn everything we got,” Morris coach Jennifer Bamonte said. “Ella was a little out of sorts execution-wise, but then again, she hadn’t pitched in almost a week. She missed some spots, but she also hit those same spots in key situations. She was able to get the job done, our defense played well behind her, and we hit the ball pretty well.

“Overall, I feel like we played a really solid game that hopefully carries over back here on Saturday.”

With one out in the first, Plano’s Maddy Leftridge walked and Lindsey Cocks singled, but Davis responded to strike out the next two hitters.

“No excuses, but it did take me an inning or two to get back in the groove,” Davis said. “I felt like after the second inning I was able to locate my pitches where they needed to be. I’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”

“Today the girls that bunt or slap did a great job of doing what they do. We have a lot of fast girls, so if they can get the bunts or slaps down, they are going to be tough to throw out.”

—  Ella Davis, Morris pitcher

Morris tallied one run in the first on a RBI single by Davis off Plano pitcher Alyssa Dubinski to score Addison Stacy, who had reached on a leadoff bunt hit. Morris added two in the second on a wild pitch and a run-scoring infield single by Stacy. In the third, Davis started the frame with a bullet to the fence in left for a double before scoring on a groundout by Alyssa Jepson to make it 4-0.

“We have a lot of different girls that can do a lot of different things at the plate,” Davis said. “Today the girls that bunt or slap did a great job of doing what they do. We have a lot of fast girls, so if they can get the bunts or slaps down, they are going to be tough to throw out.”

Plano plated its only run in the fourth when Lainey Lemke lined a two-out single down the third-base line and scored on triple to the center-field fence by Annabelle Solis.

In the fourth for Morris, Jepson was hit by a pitch to start the inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Natalie Lawton tripled to right and scored on a pitch to the backstop before Stacy walked and Elaina Vidales singled.

Kylee Claypool drove in Stacy with a hit, Vidales scored on a passed ball, and Jepson slapped an infield RBI single to make it 9-1.

In the fifth, Karson Dransfeldt and Lawson (RBI) reached on consecutive infield hits before Macie Ferguson drove home Lawson with a single to end the game by the 10-run rule.

Cocks at third and shortstop Taylor Downs both made a trio of excellent fielding plays each for the Reapers.

“Morris is a good team, and it really used small-ball to its advantage today,” Plano coach Dwayne Love said. “They were able to get runners on and move them either with bunts or slaps, but overall, they just hit the ball well. We hung with them for three innings, and I thought played a pretty solid game, but then just had the fourth inning get away from us.

“We progressed during the season and have gotten better. All season we’ve had younger girls on the field, and sometimes it shows. But the left side of our infield will be juniors, our catcher and second baseman will be sophomores next year, and they all gained a ton of experience this year. We’ve just got to keep working on getting better and more competitive.”

Brian Hoxsey

Brian Hoxsey

I worked for 25 years as a CNC operator and in 2005 answered an ad in The Times for a freelance sports writer position. I became a full-time sports writer/columnist for The Times in February of 2016. I enjoy researching high school athletics history, and in my spare time like to do the same, but also play video games and watch Twitch.