AURORA – The York Dukes had their opportunities on Saturday, but couldn't get that one big hit to change the momentum against the Seward Lady Jays.
York, No. 6 in Class B, opened the Central Conference Tournament with a resounding three inning 12-0 win over the Central City Bison, then took on the Jays in the semifinals and dropped a tough 3-2 decision.
York did bounce back to improve its record to 23-3 with a 6-4 eight-inning win over the Fairbury Jeffs to pick up third place.
In the loss to the Jays it came down to opportunities wasted as York stranded five base runners over the final three innings, four in scoring position.
Seward jumped on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring single off the bat of Skyler Peterson, but York evened the score at 1-1 in the third when Hannah Riley opened the inning with a triple and scored on Taylor Kadavy's ground-out to the right side.
Seward's Kristin Rodenbaugh ignited a two-run Seward fourth when she came off the bench and doubled to open the frame.
A ground-out produced one run and with two outs Kasey Heath singled in the second run to make it 3-1.
York left runners at second and third in the fifth, and in the sixth a lead-off walk by Jordyn Stearns and a line drive, two-out RBI triple to left field by Hayley Nienhueser pulled the Dukes to within 3-2. York could not get the hit it needed to score Nienhueser, who was left standing at third.
The table was set for the Dukes again in the seventh when Kadavy singled with one out and Gocke followed with a hard shot off the second baseman's glove to put runners at first and third.
But the Dukes could not get the big hit as they dropped the 3-2 decision to rival Seward.
“We are obviously disappointed in how we played against Seward which put us out of winning the tournament,” commented head coach Danyel Seevers. “We just couldn't get the ball through and their defense played well.”
Kadavy went the distance on the mound as she struck-out 14 batters and only allowed six hits. York out-hit the Jays 7-6.
In the third place win over Fairbury, the Dukes were led offensively by Riley as she went 2-3. Picking up one hit each were Stearns, Katlyn Horras, Nienhueser and Marti Hitz. York had only five hits in the win.
Fairbury took a 2-1 lead at the end of two innings, York pulled even at 2-2 in the third and it stayed that way until the top of the eighth.
In the eighth inning the Dukes scored four times, as all but one of their five hits came in the top of the inning. In the frame RBIs were credited to Kadavy, Stearns, Horras and Veronica Botts.
Kadavy got the win as she threw all eight innings out-pitching Fairbury starter Jensen Cromer for the second time this week. The junior allowed six hits and struck out six.
York had nine hits in the win over Central City where a big nine-run third sealed the win for the Dukes.
At the plate Kadavy was 3-3 with two runs batted in and one run scored, while six players picked up one hit each.
Kadavy struck out seven in the three innings of work and York was charted with just one error.
“I am happy that the girls were able to shake off the loss, understand what we needed to do better and come back with the win against a very good Fairbury team,” said Seevers.
“We did some good things today but made some costly mistakes at times that tilted the scoreboard.”
Grand Island Northwest, No. 5 in Class B, defeated Seward 12-2 in four innings to win the 2012 league title.