Fifth-inning outburst enables Ducks to fly past Hornets and into sectional championship game

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JACKSONVILLE, Ill. — Karsyn Moorman waited, then delivered. 

The Brown County softball team’s left-handed-hitting first baseman drilled a two-run single after Havana made a pitching change in the second inning to give the Hornets a 5-0 lead in Wednesday’s Class 1A Jacksonville Routt Sectional semifinal.

The Hornets were in a position to avenge their lone loss this season, continue their record-breaking campaign, and knock out the Ducks for a second consecutive season. Then came the fifth inning.

The Ducks scored six times in the frame, catapulting them to a 10-6 victory at the YMCA field.

“We score five runs in two innings, and then we don’t really score again. That’s not like us,” said Hornets coach David Woodruff, who mentioned how they’ve been able to score runs all year with a run differential north of plus-230. 

Ducks reliever Jaylnn Sarnes slowed down the Hornets and finished the game, surrendering one run in the final inning. 

“She has done that all year for us, half of her appearances have been in relief and she did her job,” said Havana coach Rusty Sarnes, who called on his daughter with one out in the second to stop the bleeding. 

Havana chipped away and scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the third inning to get within 5-3. The first two hitters reached base the next half inning for the Hornets, but a double play wiped away the threat.

The Ducks scratched across another run in the fourth behind a leadoff double to get within 5-4.

Hornets catcher Cyrah Dunlap, who reached base four times with a team-best three hits, drew a walk in the fifth inning, but was left on base after two groundouts ended the frame. 

The gut punch came in the bottom of the fifth when the Hornets surrendered two doubles, and failed to record an out on three separate ground balls on the infield to lead to the six-run frame. 

“We didn’t play very well in the field today,” Woodruff said. 

The Ducks forced the issue by making contact against Hornets ace Taryn Moorman, who was previously unbeaten and finished just shy of the single-season strikeout record. 

“We just kept putting the ball in play and they kept making mistakes and we had to capitalize,” Sarnes said. 

The Hornets had opportunities with runners aboard all game, as they were only set down in order only in the sixth inning.  

Woodruff wants his team to have an appropriate outlook on what they accomplished despite the season-ending loss. 

“I tried to get everybody to look at the big picture,” said Woodruff, who led the squad to a school-record 29-2 mark and a Western Illinois Valley Conference championship.

One of the best left-handed hitters in Brown County history, Karsyn Moorman reached base four times and had two hits, two RBIs and a run scored in her final game.

“I mean it’s really been an honor playing with such a good group of girls and underneath a good coach,” said Brown County’s Cortni Law, who only lost 10 games across three sports her senior year as the Hornets set victory records in volleyball, basketball and softball.

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