LIVINGSTON -- If only for a moment, there was a sliver of hope in Rayville’s dugout.
Asia Wallace and Taylor Woodard both reached base within the first three pitches from Olivia Welda. The Lady Hornets put together four runs on four hits in the top of the 1st inning, temporarily shirking their spot as a No. 30 seed
Two innings later, Rayville headed back to their bus after a 19-4 loss.
After their improbable start to the game, shoddy defense gave way to a 9-run bottom of the 1st. Welda found her groove in the circle, allowing only two hits through the final 2 frames.
Welda said the Lady Tigers (21-10) underestimated their opponent, who carried just nine players into the playoffs.
“We just weren’t awake,” Welda said. “We thought we had this team, but we didn’t. There weren’t any playoff nerves or anything. We just need to play better.”
Wallace laced the second pitch she saw into left-center field to lead the game off. Looking to build off of early momentum, Woodard wasted no time driving the first pitch she saw into right field for a single. Emily Hamm, the lone senior on Rayville’s squad, scored both Woodard and Wallace on a single. Cassie Bryant and Olivia Biddy accounted for the final two runs.
The Lady Tigers took control offensively early on, with Caitlinn Fruge leading off the bottom of the 1st inning. An error by Hamm allowed Sidney Taylor to reach and Fruge to score, before Elise Jones walked. Taylor scored on a passed ball, while Kylie Merrel singled to score Jones. A slew of errors contributed to six more runs coming across before the 1st inning finally ended.
Hamm turned in a solid pitching performance in the 2nd inning, before coughing up the remaining 10 runs in the 3rd inning. Doyle batted around in the 3rd inning ending the game on the 15-run rule.
While it was started out as a game to remember for the Lady Hornets, it led to an early scare for Doyle, which woke up after allowing the four early runs. The Lady Tigers had their share of errors, including one by Jones and one by Kameryn Spears that allowed two runs to score.
“It’s going to be a fight through the rest of these playoffs,” Fruge said. “We’ll definitely need to improve our defense if we want to have a chance at advancing through the next round.
Added Welda, “We can’t get a slow start in our next game. We have to come out firing if we want to win.”
The Lady Tigers’ next challenge is Fisher, which rolled past Madison Prep 14-4 on Tuesday. Doyle and the Lady Gators (12-9) meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Sartwell Park.
DOYLE 19, RAYVILLE 4
Rayville 400 -- 4 6 7
Doyle 90(10) -- 19 11 3
Emily Hamm and Cassie Bryant; Olivia Welda and Elise Jones. W -- Welda. L -- Hamm. 2B: Rayville -- Asia Wallace; Doyle -- Caitlinn Fruge 2, Alissa Ragas, Welda. 3B: Doyle -- Fruge, Ragas. Records: Rayville 2-14, Doyle 21-10. Up next: Class 2A Regional – Fisher at Doyle, 5:30 p.m. Thursday.