Denison ends its season with win over The Colony
Denison knew going into its final game there would be no playoffs for the second straight season — last year it was a universal feeling because of COVID-19 that kept the Lady Yellow Jackets from building on a region quarterfinal appearance.
This year Denison found itself on the outside of the postseason because of a tie-breaker. No matter the outcome in the District 10-5A finale, the Lady Jackets were staying home.
But that feeling didn't keep Denison from finishing with a victory against third-place The Colony, 9-3, at Denison.
The win put the Lady Jackets (15-11, 8-6) into a tie with Wylie East for fourth place despite losing both games in agonizingly close fashion to the Lady Raiders.
"It is what it is," Denison head coach Jeremy Green said. "When you don't secure either of those East games, you deserve what you get."
Denison had a 1-0 lead after five innings in the district opener but lost 2-1 and then the re-match went 14 innings before a three-run walk-off homer gave East a 4-1 victory. The Lady Jackets also lost to The Colony, 12-11, in the first meeting of the season and if any of the outcomes had been reversed then Denison would be still playing.
"You beat the second-place team (Lovejoy). You beat the third-place team. It's not like we weren't right there," Green said. "They've got to learn from the positives of this year."
Hannah Grinspan was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, Jewel Hiberd was 2-for-3 with a triple and scored, Camryn Nixon was 2-for-4 and drove in a run, Madison Carter singled, walked, drove in a run and scored, Ashlinn Hamilton was 2-for-4 with a double, drove in a run and scored twice, Maddison Luper walked three times and scored and Campbell Anderson walked twice and scored twice for the Lady Jackets.
"They finished on a real big high and that's all you could ask for," Green said. "They knew there was nothing at stake playoffs-wise and still competed like that."
Olivia Wick was 3-for-4 with a double and drove in a run while Sabrina Wick singled, walked and drove in two for The Colony (11-12, 9-5), which had already been locked into the third seed for the playoffs.
Denison loses just one senior — Carter at third base — and the expectations will remain high.
"I've got eight of nine back and all those young ones, there's no more freshmen anymore; they're not sophomores anymore," Green said. "We are going to be in position regardless of what the other teams are losing."
A two-out rally in the sixth provided Denison’s final run. Hamilton doubled high off the right-field wall and Grinspan followed with an RBI single to left-center.
The Colony got within 8-3 in the sixth on a pair of runs from a two-out, two-run single up the middle by Sabrina Wick.
The Lady Cougars were on the verge of leaving another two in scoring position after doing that in the fourth when it was a three-run game.
Grinspan’s three-run blast keyed the Lady Jackets’ two-out push in the fourth for four runs and an 8-1 lead.
Anderson walked, went to second on a dropped third strike and the second out quickly followed. Carter walked on four pitches and Hamilton pulled an RBI single through the right side.
Grinspan then delivered a decisive blow with her homer to left that provided a seven-run margin.
The Colony got on the board in the third when Sabrina Wick walked to begin the inning, was sacrificed to second and scored on Olivia Wick’s two-out single up the middle.
Denison knocked out starter Sidney Young in the second as the first seven Lady Jackets reached to begin the inning.
Hiberd bunted for a hit and moved up on a wild pitch before Luper walked and they executed a double steal.
Hiberd scored on a wild pitch and Katelynn Martinez made it 2-0 on a single to right.
Anderson walked and Autumn Mitchell singled off the second-base bag to load the bases. Nixon and Carter followed with RBI singles to right for a 4-0 advantage.
The Colony turned to Kaitlyn Moeller to hold the deficit there and she got a double play when Mitchell tried to tag up on a foul popup down the left-field line but was thrown out at the plate, followed by a groundout.
Carlie Goldy led off the second with a single to right-center but was quickly doubled off first when Moeller popped up her bunt attempt to Hamilton, who scattered seven hits and three walks to go with eight strikeouts.
Nixon led off the game with an infield single for the Lady Jackets but never left first base after a trio of flyouts to center.
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