Holtville's first trip to the softball state tournament since 2012 did not start the way the Bulldogs hoped it would. After scoring a quick run to take the lead in the top of the first inning, North Jackson responded with 11 unanswered to end the game after five innings and sent the Bulldogs into the losers' bracket.
Cyndi Thornton got the scoring started with an RBI single to scored Breella Hughley in the first inning but that was the only run Holtville could get in the first-round loss. One run has been enough for the Bulldogs with KK Dismukes in the circle but something was off from the start for the Holtville ace.
"I thought the excitement and energy was there early on," Holtville coach Daryl Otwell said. "KK's arm has been bothering her but she tried to push through the pain. When we made that change, the morale of the team changed a little bit."
Dismukes had to be pulled from the circle after allowing two walks, one hit by pitch and a single in the first six batters of the inning. North Jackson capitalized with four runs in the first to take the lead for good.
Holtville kept the game close with Brooke Cooper in the circle but North Jackson blew the doors open in the bottom of the fourth. The Chiefs recorded five consecutive singles to start the inning and finished with six more runs to push the lead to 10-1, ending any hopes of a comeback for the Bulldogs.
"Someone else has got to step up," Otwell said. "(Dismukes) is a great player and she's done a lot for us but this team still has a lot of great players."
The Bulldogs will face elimination for the second time in the postseason when they take on Dale County. The game is scheduled for 4:45 at Lagoon Park but it seems like Holtville could be without Dismukes again.
"We're going to try to get her some treatment and let the medical staff look at her," Otwell said. "She's hurting pretty good though. She wanted to give it a go and it's hard to see it happen here. Unfortunately, that's the way it works sometimes."
The Bulldogs will need to win two games to extend their season another day. They will need to win six consecutive games over the next two days to win the state championship.
"It's not over," Otwell said. "It's going to be harder but we're still here."
For updates on the elimination game, follow Caleb Turrentine on Twitter.
Game 2: Dale County 11, Holtville 3 - 6th inning, lightning delay
And just like that, the real lightning delay hits. We have a 30-minute delay. https://t.co/WpyzjE6RZ3— Caleb Turrentine (@CalebTurrentine) May 18, 2019