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Jitters cost Belles opener

An error-filled inning and first-game jitters cost the Troy Belles in their first game of the state tournament.

“What can I say? Our defense let us down,” said Coach Steve Finlayson, after the Belles lost 8-3 in their opening game against Underwood.

“Basically, we made too many defensive mistakes. We gave up five runs in one inning, and we just didn’t come back after that,” he said.

Underwood scored all of their runs in two innings: the first and the fifth.

Underwood came out strong in the first inning, scoring three runs. Troy answered with a run in the second inning, when Becca Hartley reached on a single and Stephanie Finlayson moved Hartley to third on a sacrifice bunt. Hartley later scored on a passed ball.

“In the top of the fifth, we scored two more runs to tie it up,” the coach said.

Tori Outlaw was hit by a pitch, then scored on a double by Stephanie Finlayson, who scored next on another double hit by her sister, Kristen.

“It was just a little comeback, but they scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth and that just took our wind out,” the coach said. “We couldn’t make the plays.”

Finlayson said the pitching was strong in the game, crediting Hannah Fountain, Stephanie Finlayson and Kristen Finlayson with giving up only seven hits.

Hitting was strong as well, he said, with Fountain; Hartley; both Finlaysons; Madi Mehaffey; and Conleigh Gilmore all scoring hits.

“We played much the same way we played in district,” he said. “We lost the first game there, and then came back and played good the rest of the time.

“Most of our mistakes were mental mistakes … I feel like we’re going to come back strong tomorrow and do well.”

The Belles play at 7 p.m. today.