BERLIN- The Stephen Decatur varsity softball team’s hopes for a good run in the Class 3A-East region tournament and a possible state championship ended with a lazy fly ball to left in the eighth inning on Monday as the Seahawks fell to visiting Atholton, 2-0, in the second round.
Dominating pitching by both teams, including Decatur senior standout Maddie Justice, kept the score tied at 0-0 through the regulation seven innings. Justice was practically unhittable for most of the afternoon, striking out an amazing 20 Raiders over eight innings while allowing just two hits.
One of those hits ended the game, and the season, for the Seahawks, however. With the scored tied at 0-0 at the end of seven, Atholton got its first two hitters on to start the eighth and moved them to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Justice struck out the next batter on three straight sizzling fast balls for the second out, but then walked the next batter to load the bases with two outs.
After falling behind in the count, 0-2, the next Atholton batter fouled off a couple of pitches before lofting a lazy fly ball to right that fell just in front of the charging Decatur right fielder and two runs scored to give the Raiders at 2-0 lead. Decatur’s Kelly Marx reached second in the bottom of the eighth, but the Seahawks went quietly the rest of the inning and the game ended with the 2-0 loss.
The loss did little to tarnish what was another remarkable season for Decatur, which finished with a 15-3 record. The Seahawks were dominant at times and won five straight to close out the regular season before falling in the second round to Atholton on Monday.