BLANCO — A prestigious run came to an end Friday.
In the final game of the regular season, No. 16-ranked Florence traveled to No. 25 Blanco to battle for District 25-3A supremacy, and it just didn’t go the Lady Buffaloes’ way.
Taylor Boss threw a one-hitter while striking out seven, and the Lady Panthers won 3-0 to capture the league title and end Florence’s two-year reign atop the league.
Only three baserunners reached for the Lady Buffaloes. Madison Hill and Bri Ramirez were both hit by a pitch, and Lainey Stone collected the team’s only hit on a line-drive single to center field in the sixth inning.
“Their pitcher did a heck of a job,” Florence head coach Brett Gola said. “We hit some balls on the nose right at people, but that’s what makes this game so beautiful — that it’s a matter of inches or a couple feet sometimes.
“We try to tell the kids that some days you have it, some days you don’t. We’re still in the postseason. We got second, and there’s nothing to hang our heads about. We still have to get focused and play next week.”
Gola felt Boss did a commendable job of attacking the inside corner and keeping the Lady Buffaloes off balance.
“We’d get down in the count and swing at a bad pitch,” Gola said. “Next thing you know, you’re kind of reeling and worrying about what else she’s got in her repertoire. But she came out and was amped up and had the crowd behind her.
“You just tip your cap and move on to the next day. This was just one of those days.”
Emily Jo Gray took the loss in the circle for Florence (13-7-1, 10-2 25-3A) despite a solid outing. She threw a six-inning complete game while allowing three runs — two earned — on eight hits and struck out seven.
Blanco got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the second.
Boss tallied an RBI single on a bunt that scored Allie West, and Reyna Calzoncit singled to right field to score Hannah Garrett to put the Lady Panthers up 2-0.
Blanco (19-5-3, 11-1) added an insurance run in the bottom of the third, as West scored thanks to the Lady Buffaloes’ lone error in the contest to go up by three for good.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these kids,” Gola said. “We faced some adversity this year, being a little bit younger and not having that large group of seniors. But we were still strong.
“Our seniors have held us together, our juniors have helped out and the freshmen, for the most part, have played well above their years. We depend on a lot of freshman, and there is a learning curve.
“Our kids are down right now, because they feel like they let down our winning tradition. But they didn’t let anybody down. We’ve still got a lot of ball to play.”
No information on Florence’s bi-district contest will be available until early next week.