In what was supposed to be a pitcher's duel, turned out to be a one-sided affair.
Ranked seventh in the state, the Daniel Lady Lions, led by junior pitcher Carley Hoover, overpowered No. 5 Nation Ford 10-0 to open the 3A Upper State softball tournament.
Hoover, who improved to 13-2, pitched six innings and allowed just two hits, while walking no one and striking out a dozen Lady Falcons. Nation Ford struggle so much at the plate that Hoover struck out eight of the first nine batters she faced.
Hoover said she had been looking forward to playing this game since last season, when Nation Ford ended Daniels playoff run.
Last year, I beat myself, Hoover said. I was prepared for this game. I have pretty good mental storage and I was looking back over the book (from last season) and knew what I would be facing. I was just ready.
The Lady Falcons were anything but ready and head coach Michael Kidd didnt mince words after the game.
Its horrible, he said. We have no senior leadership. I dont know what happened. I am not usually at a loss for words, but the whole entire team didnt have the will to win. How do you bounce back from this?
You either come out swinging or you lay down. You have to give Hoover a lot of credit. She threw lights out. She single handily beat our entire team.
Nation Ford will now play the loser of the Chapman/Walhalla game on the road Monday, while Daniel will play the winner of that game.
Nation Ford sent senior Bradlee Holeman to the circle carrying a 17-5 record on the year.
Both pitchers looked strong early on, but some hiccups by Holeman showed a small glimpse into the future in how the game would turn out.
Holeman hit the first Daniel batter of the game, ironically it was Hoover, she drilled. Holeman was able to get out of the inning without allowing a hit after stranding Hoover at first.
In the second inning, junior Haley Hammond got Nation Fords first hit, after four straight strikeouts to start the game. But Hammond would be left stranded at first after two more Hoover strikeouts.
In the bottom of the second, an error by Nation Ford put a runner on, but Holeman and the Lady Falcons defense was able to get out of the inning.
Then in the bottom of the third, things fell apart for the Lady Falcons.
Holeman struck out the first batter, but then proceeded to walk the next two and allowed a single by Daniel senior Alex Oliver to load the bases.
Holeman then hit the next batter for Daniels first run of the game and gave up an RBI single to junior Jenna Carnes. Another walk to first baseman Ashton Martin scored another Daniel run and after all was done, the Lady Falcons found themselves in a 3-0 hole.
Daniel added a fourth run in the fourth inning after Holeman walked three of the first four batters before being pulled for freshman Brooke McCurry. McCurry would allow a sacrifice fly to junior Dakota Crane, but got out of the inning after striking out the next batter.
Holeman went three and a third innings, allowing two hits, but walking six batters and hitting two more. She struck out five Daniel hitters.
After two more Lady Falcons strikeouts to start the fifth inning, Nation Fords second hit came from catcher Brittany Prather, but a pinch runner would get thrown out trying to steal second base to end the inning.
McCurry did well in the fifth getting all three batters she faced out, but when the sixth inning had rolled around, Daniel had figured out how to hit her.
Daniel scored six runs on six hits in the sixth inning to make the score 10-0 and end the game because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Daniel 10, Nation Ford 0
Nation Ford 000 000 0 2 2
Daniel 003 106 10 8 0
Bradlee Holeman, Brooke McCurry (4) and Brittany Prather, Carolyn Thompson (6) (NF); Carley Hoover and Alex Oliver (D). W Carley Hoover 13-2, L Bradlee Holeman 17-6. 2B Jenna Carnes (D). LOB Nation Ford 1, Daniel 9.
Leading hitters: Nation Ford Brittany Prather 1-2, Haley Hammond 1-2; Daniel Alex Oliver 2-3, Jenna Carnes 2-3 2 RBI, Ashton Martin 1-3 2 RBI.
Records: Nation Ford 23-6, Daniel 20-4.