Numerous defensive mistakes prevented Glen Rose from being competitive against a strong Mart team when the two squads met on Thursday in the Glen Rose Tournament, but in Saturday afternoon’s tourney final the Lady Tigers stepped up their play considerably.
Glen Rose (5-3-1) lost 5-4 to take second place, despite finishing with more hits (8-7) and fewer errors (1-3). The Lady Tigers had the winning run on base when the contest ended.
“This is the best finish we’ve ever had in our tournament, so we can take a lot of good things from it, but there is a lot of hard work ahead and these girls are willing to do it,” said coach Kiel Miller.
Madison Calvert (3 IP, 2 R – 2 ER, 5 H, W, 4 K) got the start against Mart and Hannah Morales (3 IP, 3 R – 2 ER, 2 H, W, 2 HBP, K) came on in relief. Glen Rose led 3-2 when Calvert left the circle.
Top hitters for Glen Rose were Destiny Ponce (2 singles, RBI), Shelby Rotan (2 doubles) and Alex Dahl (inside-the-park HR, RBI). Other offensive contributors were Page Green (single), Hannah Morales (single) and Amber Ponce (single).
Mart managed to go up 2-0 in the top of the first with a walk, a single and a two-RBI single before consecutive Calvert strikeouts.
Rotan began the Glen Rose first with a line double to the fence in left. Green then laid down a bunt single, and the pitcher’s throw bounced off her helmet to allow Rotan to come home (1-2). Two batters later, a Destiny Ponce RBI single past third base made it 2-2.
“Destiny truly found her swing last summer and she’s being real consistent,” Miller said. “Page is fast, so we’ll do whatever we can to get her on base. She forced that error.”
While Mart mustered consecutive singles in the second inning, Calvert struck a batter out and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch of a bloop fly to prevent any runs.
Morales singled to open the Glen Rose second, and when she rounded third on another Rotan double to the fence in left Morales was thrown out at home to keep the score at 2-2.
“I’m an aggressive coach and I just don’t think a fielder will make that throw home on the money every single time,” Miller said. “I’ll take my chances and (Saturday) it bit me. Shelby showed that she has power with two hard-hit doubles, and I haven’t seen that from her before.”
Destiny Ponce made a nice running catch in right-center in the third and Calvert took care of the other two outs, as the senior faced just four batters. She was on a pitch count in the tourney as she works through shoulder soreness.
“Madison is living up to the reputation that preceded her,” Miller said. “She’s throwing the ball well and has taken some velocity off, which has made her more consistent.”
Destiny Ponce singled in the home third and Amber Ponce reached base on an error to allow her sister to score (3-2).
Morales seemed to be in good shape in the Mart fourth, as she struck out the first batter and then saw Amber Ponce field a groundout at third. Opportunity came calling for Mart, however, as it scored the winning runs via a walk, a hit batter, a single, a two-RBI single and a fielding error (3-5).
Glen Rose had a chance to respond in the home fourth as Morales drew a leadoff walk and Dahl reached base on a fielder’s choice when Mart made an error for no outs, but the next three batters were retired.
Morales went back to the circle and retired the side in the fifth.
“Hannah gets frustrated at times, but she’s gaining valuable experience and we expect great things from her,” Miller said. “She’s resilient to bounce back from a bad inning.”
Mart made a pitching change in the home fifth, but only Amber Ponce (single) reached base. Morales faced just four batters in the top of the sixth, as shortstop Rotan registered two outs.
With one out in the home sixth, Dahl drove the ball deep to left field and it bounced back off the fence as the outfielder went down upon colliding with the fence. Dahl motored all the way around for a solo inside-the-park homer (4-5).
“Alex will always remember that home run,” Miller said. “It bounced off that wall and shot back toward the infield, plus she hustled all the way around the bases.”
Rotan and Kelsy Massey each walked to give Glen Rose a chance, but Mart was able to force two foul pops to the catcher to seal the victory.
“The girls feel like Mart was lucky to get out of here with a win, and I thought we probably outplayed them,” Miller said. “We have to find a way to get our runners in scoring position home more consistently.”
Glen Rose will return to action on Friday when it hosts Fort Worth Christian in a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader.