Taegu girls close in on Korea softball title
At last, a school other than Seoul American has a Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Korea league championship within its grasp.
With three games remaining Saturday, Taegu American (9-3) will face Seoul American (7-5). That means that in effect, the title is Taegu’s to lose: To claim the championship, Seoul American will have to win all three games and Taegu will have to lose all three.
Leading to this potential upset: The Warriors, with Brittani Ferguson and Tank Hancock each hitting inside-the-park home runs, took advantage of 12 errors to sweep Pusan American in a girls softball doubleheader 8-1 and 10-5 on Wednesday at Taegu’s Camp Walker.
In leagues in South Korea with only DODDS or 8th U.S. Army-sponsored youth activities teams, no school other than Seoul American has won a league championship outright since Taegu captured the football title in 1993.
“They know they can do it. They have to win,” Taegu American athletic director Michelle Chandler said, adding that the team has players such as Hancock, Lynnette Grant and Kelli Cox, who helped the Warriors to Far East Class A volleyball and basketball tournament titles. “There’s a few on that team who know how to win.”
Whatever happens Saturday, Taegu assistant coach Anna Nelson said, her charges are a “hard-working team.”
“These girls have had a great season,” Nelson said. “They are constantly encouraging each other and they work as one unit. I am proud of what they have accomplished and done this season. The credit is all theirs.”
Panthers coach Dana Cottrell said her team suffered defensive “meltdowns” in the last inning of each game, when the Warriors combined to score 10 runs to put each contest out of reach.
“Errors killed us. That seems to be the season trend,” Cottrell said of a Panthers team that won its first four games to open the season but has gone 3-5 since.
Cox, a senior right-hander, got the win in each game, striking out two and allowing just one earned run in the first game, then striking out five while allowing two walks and two earned runs in the nightcap, a makeup of April 8 games postponed by rain.
In the opener, Hancock and Bianca Best each batted 2-for-3 and Olivia Buford smacked a two-run triple for Taegu. Ashley Smith drove in the Panthers’ only run and took the loss, allowing 3 hits and a walk and just two earned runs; Pusan committed seven errors.
The Panthers committed five more miscues in the nightcap. Ferguson went 3-for-3 and Best batted 2-for-3, while Grant scored twice and stole two bases, as did Ferguson and Best. Cox helped herself by walking three times and scoring a run.