By Derrick Mahone
After the last out was recorded and his team did their postgame handshakes Wednesday, Mundy's Mill coach Patrick Smith gathered his team alone the left field foul line.
He congratulated them on a "successful season" and challenged them to get better for next season.
The Lady Tigers undefeated season ended with a sweep at home by Wayne County in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs. Mundy's Mill, the Region 4-AAAA champion, lost 10-1 and 5-4 to the Yellow Jackets to end their season with an 18-2 record.
"I'm proud of them for an outstanding season," Smith said. "We need to work some on our fundamentals during the offseason. We were a young team, and they have to play during the summer to get better."
Said senior catcher Jadae Taylor: "It hurts. I know we practiced way to hard for it to end like this. I thought we were going to come through. It was a good season, and I'm proud of what we accomplished. I thought we were going to win."
Mundy's Mill breezed through the regular season with an 18-0 record and won the county and region championship.
In the first game of the playoffs, the Lady Tigers surrendered five runs in the third innings and was never able to recover. Five of the runs were scored with the ball never leaving the infield.
"It was the worst game of the season," Smith said. "One bad inning caused a lot of damage."
In the nightcap, Mundy's Mill led 1-0 before the Yellow Jackets tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Mundy's Mill would retake the lead at 4-1 in the top of the sixth inning.
Wayne County would take the lead in the bottom of the inning.
The Lady Tigers would score what would be the tying run in the top of the seventh inning, but the umpire ruled the Mundy's Mill runner left third base before tagging up on a fly ball.
Freshman Savannah McHellon would hit a double at the next at-bat to put the potential tying run at second with two outs. Taylor would groundout to second to make the final out.
"I should have come through for us," Taylor said. "It was a good season, and we make some history this season."
The senior said they left a legacy for the upcoming players to try to strive for next season. Mundy's Mill had only three of its five seniors in the lineup.
McHellon, who was 16-2 on the season, will be the cornerstone of the team next season.
"We can build around her," Smith said. "We lose some good players."