The Dodge City Lady Demons looked to end their spring campaign on a strong note with their final Western Athletic Conference matchup of the year on Tuesday night against Liberal. It turned out to be more heartache, adding insult to injury.
Despite playing a full seven innings and pushing the Redskins to the wire, the Demons fell inches short in the two game set, losing 6-5 and 5-4 to remain winless in the conference.
"I hope these girls realize that they were in these games and that these are games where they need to compete," said head coach Heather Steiner. "We really want to keep working at it. We're going to play this summer and hopefully build up some confidence as we get experience with game situations."
The Demons fell behind early when Liberal scored three runs to take the lead, but four runs from the visiting team put them back in front.
Eventually, Dodge City hung on to a 5-3 lead going into the final frame. But the young Demon players just couldn't hold onto the lead tight enough. Liberal mustered three runs in their final two outs for the come from behind win.
In game one, junior Alexis Sanchez went 2-for-3 with a RBI and starting pitcher Becca Bartel went the distance, striking out six and walking just two Redskins batters.
As for the finale, it was a back and forth tug-of-war battle between both squads, as the Demons score two early runs, but watched it disappear quickly. After Liberal took the lead, Dodge chipped away at the deficit with a couple of timely runs.
However, the Demons could not fully take advantage of the opportunities in front of them, stranding eight runners on base to leave big runs on the basepaths.
In game two, Ashley Stephenson went 2-for-4 with a RBI, Sanchez had 2 RBIs and once again Bartel threw a complete game with five strikeouts.
Now Dodge City prepares for their final two road regular season games of the season, as they battle Maize and Wichita Northwest on Friday. The Demons are projected to face Maize in the first round of regionals, so Friday's matchup will be a good test for that meeting.
"I'm hoping that they leave everything out on the field and that they realize the pressure is all on Maize," Steiner said. "We just need to play as hard as we can and compete and not have any regrets after the game."