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Thunder eliminated from World Series

ANDALUSIA, Ala. — The Babe Ruth World Series experience ended for the Mineral Area 12U softball team Saturday night, following its third and fourth losses in American Division pool play.

The Thunder nearly rallied past Franklin (La.) on the final swing during the morning session of games, but a caught line drive along the infield stranded the bases loaded in a narrow 3-2 defeat.

Franklin scored all three of its runs against starter Kaley Newland in the third inning. Sadie Payne delivered a tying double before pitcher Maggie Johnson connected for a two-run single and 3-1 lead.

Courtney Coffman brought the Thunder closer with a RBI single in the fifth, and two errors prolonged the comeback bid in the sixth. But the Midwest Plains regional champions could not overcome 13 total strikeouts.

Both Hannah Hight and Emily Eaton singled twice for Mineral Area. Hight retired nine of her 10 batters faced after relieving in the circle, and singled home Eaton for an early 1-0 advantage.

Mineral Area committed four defensive errors behind Hight in the nightcap, as Fern Creek (Ky.) netted five unearned runs with two outs already recorded in the fifth inning to secure an 11-3 triumph.

Pitcher Madison Williams notched nine strikeouts for the win, and scored three runs while going 2-for-3 to pace Fern Creek. Brenna Dunlap collected two RBI and Stephanie Grether added a double and single.

Mineral Area picked up a first-inning run when Madison Ziegler was hit by a pitch. Back-to-back singles from Hight and Lexy Easter had loaded the bases following a two-out error.

Mady Hart brought the Thunder even at 2-2 with a RBI single in the second, but Fern Creek tallied the game’s next nine runs, scoring three times on a combination of wild pitches and passed balls in the sixth.

Singles from Eaton and Emily Gibson accounted for the final Mineral Area run. Easter added a third-inning hit to finish 2-for-2 overall.

The Thunder finished fifth among six teams in its pool, totaling just 18 hits over five games. Mineral Area claimed its lone victory against Alexander City (Ala.) on Friday night.

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