On an absolutely beautiful day for softball, the Fairfield Lady Lions saw their string of 20 consecutive sectional championships end on their home field Thursday with a 9-4 loss to the Westfall Lady Mustangs.
Westfall improved to 10-9 overall, while Fairfield ended its season at 12-11.
The Fairfield Lady Lions played hard and never gave up, but in the end fell short. Westfall leadoff hitter Delana Landefeld drew a base on balls to lead off the game and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Ava Heath. Olivia Dumm hit a one-hop ground ball back to pitcher Emmi Vance in the circle. Vance froze the runner at third base, threw Dunn out at first base, then Carly Sanders then threw a strike to catcher Faith Miller who tagged out Landefeld trying to score.
Westfall took the lead in the top of the second inning with a run and added single runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 3-0 lead.
Fairfield fought back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rilee Quickle had a nine-pitch at bat before drawing a base on balls to lead off. Jobey Hattan was safe on a fielder’s choice as Quickle hustled and beat the throw at second base. Sydney Sanders and Katelyn Chambliss both had singles to center field to drive in Quickle and Hattan, but Sanders and Chambliss were left on base.
Westfall scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning on two Fairfield errors. Chambliss would relieve Vance in the pitching circle with one out and runners on first and third base and retired the next two Westfall batters.
The Lady Mustangs added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to make the score 9-2. Fairfield battled back to score a run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Sydney Sanders home run over the center field fence.
Chambliss retired the Lady Mustangs in order in the top of the seventh inning to hold the score at 9-3.
It looked like Fairfield might get the rally it was looking for in the bottom of the seventh and final inning. Addison Bales ripped a base hit to center field and Sydney Hooper followed with another single to center field. One out later, Hattan doubled to the left field fence to score Bales as Hooper advanced to third base. But Westfall’s Olivia Dumm struck out the next two Lady Lion hitters to seal the victory.
Leading hitters for Fairfield: Chambliss (3 for 3, double, 1 RBI), Sydney Sanders (2 for 4, home run, 1 run, 2 RBI), Hooper (1 for 4), Quickle (1 for 3, walk, 1 run), Hattan (1 for 4, double, 1 run, 1 RBI), Bales (1 for 3, 1 run).
Vance (0-2) suffered the loss for Fairfield. In 4.3 innings, she allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks, with one strikeout.
Chambliss pitched 2.6 innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits and one walk, while striking out four.
Dumm (10-5) was the winning pitcher for Westfall. In seven innings, she allowed four earned runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out 13.
It was the last game for senior catcher Faith Miller and senior left fielder Sydney Sanders. “They worked hard every day to make themselves and their teammates better. They lost their freshman year of softball to COVID-19, but have helped the Fairfield Lady Lions win three consecutive Southern Hills Athletic Conference titles, two sectional championships, and a district runner-up trophy,” coach Tom Purtell said.
Submitted by Thomas E. Purtell, Fairfield softball.