The postseason is a new season, and that’s the attitude taken by the Franklin County High School softball team.
The Lady Flyers (26-8-1) defeated Frankfort High 18-0 Monday in the 41st District Tournament at Bob Fannin Field. The game was called in the third inning on the mercy rule.
“That’s been a big focus for us,” FCHS coach Tracy Spickard said. “We talked about it at practice yesterday, in our pre-game talk today.
“You can’t take anyone for granted, no matter how many times you’ve played them or what the outcomes of those games were. I felt like we were pretty focused.”
The win puts Franklin County in the championship game Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of today’s Western Hills-Woodford County game.
FCHS took a 13-0 lead in the first inning with singles by Sydney Wiard, Whitney Edwards, Chandler Kelly, Kiana Butler, Kara Howard, Tori Zeigler, a double and single by Alyssa Gaines, a triple from Shelby Sanders and three errors.
It wasn’t the game FHS coach Angie Hutcherson expected after her team’s play last weekend.
“It’s disappointing,” she said. “We were playing well. We won Friday, 27-21, against Nelson County. We hit the ball, played well, had great spirit, a great attitude.
“Then we come in and I think we’re intimidated. I think we have been in our district games. We didn’t hit early and we got our heads down, and we made errors, and we haven’t made errors like that all year.
“Franklin County is ranked 17th or so in the state. Give them credit.”
The Lady Flyers scored five more runs in the second inning with singles by Howard, Gaines and Butler, a sacrifice fly by Edwards and three errors.
When FHS (3-17) went down in order in the top of the third inning, the game was called.
FCHS finished with 12 hits — two singles and a double by Gaines, two singles from Howard and Butler, a triple by Sanders and base hits from Wiard, Zeigler, Edwards and Kelly.
Howard and Frankfort’s Taylor Addams both pitched complete games. Howard didn’t give up a hit.
“I thought we played well,” Spickard said. “We still had a couple of mental lapses where we cut at the ball at our ankles, but for the most part we were disciplined at the plate and hit the ball hard, and Kara was efficient on the mound.”
The Lady Panthers have two seniors on their team — Beth Edwards and Rachel Palmgren.
“Most of our players are in their first year (of softball),” Hutcherson said. “I’m proud of them. If we’d played defense to our potential it could have been a heck of a game. I wanted to go five innings. That was my goal, but we made too many errors.”
With the win, the Lady Flyers secured not only a berth in the district championship game but in next week’s 11th Region Tournament to be played at Bryan Station.
“We work to improve every day,” Spickard said. “We’ll come back to practice tomorrow and get ready for the final Wednesday and for next week.”
To see more photos from this game, click here.