A 2-0 lead for didn’t hold for Lafayette as it eventually succumbed to Smithville’s offensive firepower during the semifinal round of the Class 3 District 16 tournament at Drake Field in St. Joseph, Missouri.

The Warriors took down the Fighting Irish 6-2 thanks to timely hitting by Smithville in the bottom of the fourth inning. Smithville sophomore Haley Cotter tied things up with a base hit and was followed by a go-ahead RBI double by senior Rylee Ambroson. The Warriors took care of business from there on.

While the Irish scored two runs in the first, they had the bases loaded, and it was a moment that Lafayette coach Jeff Leake wishes his team took full advantage.

“We’ve gotten runs here and there, but offensively across the board, we’re down,” Leake said. “Same girls are down from last year. They’ve put in the work, but we haven’t been able to get all the at-bats. That was our chance to kind of rip it open, and it just changes the game. It changes the game if we could of gotten four or five there. It didn’t happen for us like that this year.”

The Irish had six seniors on this year’s squad, a squad that Leake holds in high regards.

“This senior group has been in a lot,” Leake said. “They’ve been apart of some really good teams. We came out this year and I think we were a lot better than people expected us to be. What I told them and what I’m really proud about is they’re good people. This is one of the best group of young ladies we’ve had as far as great attitudes, great personalities and that’s going to take them a lot further in life than softball is.

Once the Warriors took the lead, they pounced on the Irish and padded their lead. Senior Skylar Brooks smashed a home run to center field to make the score 4-2. Senior Delaney Odneal drove in another run, and Brooks scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth.

Senior Lafayette Irish pitcher Emerie Carr season is now over, and while she’s upset about the loss, she is confident her team could have taken home the win.

“I feel sad because it’s senior year, and we’re already done,” Carr said. “I felt like we could beat them. I think we played well.”

As far as Carr is concerned, her team played better this season than anyone expected them to.

“I feel like we came together,” Carr said. “Nobody believed in us, and we really just pulled it together and fought for ourselves.”

Derek Zimmerman-Guyer can be reached at derek.zguyer@newspressnow.com.