Pace lost its first two games and was eliminated early at the Class A private state finals in Columbus last week.
The Lady Knights lost their opener to Darlington 7-4 on Thursday and then fell to George Walton 8-0 in a loser’s bracket game on Friday in the double-elimination contest.
For Pace coach Kris Palmerton, it was simply a matter of running into teams that played better in both games.
“It’s not that we played bad; the other teams just played better,” Palmerton said. “The girls really played hard. It was a great run, so there’s no regrets.”
Pace fell behind in its first game as Darlington scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie and take a 4-0 lead, but the Lady Knights bounced back with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth — with Sydney Willis, Amber Easley and Lauren Hadley getting key hits — to tie the game up at 4-all.
Unfortunately for Pace, Darlington had the final word with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game away.
“The girls fought back, but Darlington was hitting the ball too well,” Palmerton said.
The second game was an even more decisive defeat as George Walton started the game with a grand slam home run in the first and continued its relentless hitting attack the rest of the way.
“George Walton hit the ball hard,” Palmerton said. “They were just the better team in that game.”
Mount Pisgah Christian went on to win the Class A Private championship, defeating Prince Avenue Christian 9-8 in the title game on Saturday.
It was a disappointing end to what was otherwise a breakthrough season for Pace, which advanced deeper into the state playoffs than it ever had before.
“It was a great year,” Palmerton said. “I’m so proud of our girls for what they accomplished this season and this is something that we can build on next year.”
While Pace will be losing key senior players like third baseman Sydney Willis, shortstop Amber Easley, first baseman Claire Wiskind and catcher Lindsay Zwecker, the Lady Knights will be returning a number of top contributors like sophomore pitcher Lane Dikeman, sophomore catcher/shortstop Lauren Hadley, junior second baseman Sarah Jacobson, sophomore outfielder Maryellen Monroe and freshman catcher Sarah Werner.
The state finals also came to an early end for Blessed Trinity as it lost its first two games to be eliminated in the Class AAA contest.
The Lady Titans (25-14) lost to Central of Carroll County 2-1 in their first game last Thursday and then fell to Ringgold 4-3 last Friday.