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One game short of state for WCMS

What a run for WCMS softball.

The Lady Pioneers pushed all the way to the doorstep of the first-ever TMSAA state tournament, but came up just short Thursday night. Warren County lost 5-1 to Mt. Juliet, ending its season after advancing deeper in the postseason than ever before.

Mt. Juliet was able to scratch two across in the first and one more in the second to build early momentum, then survive down the stretch to advance to state. Ceilee Gudat did her best to limit Mt. Juliet, settling down after two roller coaster innings (each having pivotal errors to help the home team score) to throw six innings and strike out three.

On the other side, the Lady Pioneers didn’t get rolling until it was too late. Warren County two hits in the first five innings, a leadoff single from Alexia Ross in the third and a two-out single by Maggy Whiles in the fourth.

Ross almost scored in the third, but she ended up part of a double play to end the frame. The Lady Pioneers tried to steal a run by having Ky Damon bunt with Ross on second, but Damon was thrown out at first and Ross couldn’t make it home before the throw.

Gudat provided the lone run for the Lady Pioneers in the sixth. She came up with two outs and the bases loaded after Maddox Adams walked and Maggy Whiles and Lily Rains singled, armed with a chance to help her own cause.

Gudat hit a rocket up the middle, one that the struck the Mt. Juliet pitcher and sent her to the ground. Adams scored on the single, but the rest of the field froze as coaches rushed to take a look at the pitcher. She would have to leave the game due to the hard hit.

After the delay, Warren County couldn’t regain its mojo at the plate. Kyaira Sharpe popped out to end the inning, leaving the Lady Pioneers down 3-1.

Mt. Juliet was able to tack on two insurance runs in the sixth, ones that looked vital for a moment when the Lady Pioneers made a final charge.

MaKenzie Hullett energized Warren County in the seventh with a single to left field, then Ky Damon followed with a walk to put two on with just one out. The rally never materialized though, as Mt. Juliet was able to get a called strike three on a payoff pitch to Adams before snagging a liner from Callie Roberts to end the game.

Gudat and Whiles finished with two hits each, while Hullett, Rains and Ross finished with one hit each.

Warren County finished the season with a 15-7 record, which included a second-place finish in the CTC tournament and a win over Stewarts Creek in the TMSAA sectionals.

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