BUFFALO GAP — Buffalo Gap sophomore Kate Alger tossed a two-hit shutout and drove in three runs, sparking the Bison to an 8-0 romp over the Strasburg Rams on Monday in the quarterfinals of the Region 2B softball tournament.
Alger was nearly flawless in pushing the Bison to within one victory of qualifying for the Class 2 state tournament. Alger gave up a one-out single to Gracie McDonald in the first inning before retiring the next 17 batters. That streak was broken when McDonald got an infield single to lead off the seventh. McDonald was the only base runner the Rams could muster off Gap’s ace.
Alger struck out 11 and did not walk a batter. The Rams only got the ball out of the infield four times.
“Everything was working, especially my curve,” Alger said. “I felt a little bit of pressure knowing it was win-or-go-home, but my focus was only on this game. You can’t be looking ahead.”
Next up for the Bison is a Wednesday trip to Madison County for a regional semifinal showdown where the winner earns a trip to next week’s state tournament. The game has the added twist of a 7 p.m. start under the lights, which will be a new experience for Gap.
“I have played some travel ball under lights, so it won’t be too different for me,” Alger said. “It may affect the outfielders a bit getting used to picking up the ball, but I think we will all be good. There is too much on the line.”
The Bison got a single run in the second off Strasburg’s Natalie Hott. Chelsea Glass singled and Sydney Digman walked to open the inning. With one out, Natalye Graham drove a double off the fence in left that plated Glass.
Gap broke the game open with a six-run outburst in the third, thanks in large part to four Strasburg errors. The Bison loaded the bases with none out, and the first run plated on an error.
Alger cleared the bases with a ringing double to center that just missed being a grand-slam by a couple feet.
“Low pitches are my sweet spot, and I got all of that one,” she said.
Graham followed Alger’s hit with a run-scoring single, while Autumn Stokes, the 10th batter of the inning, capped the game-breaking outburst with an RBI single to left.
“We got off to a slow start against Page in the district championship, and I told the girls we needed to jump on this team early,” Gap head coach Darren Pultz said. “That inning was big for us to get some breathing room.”
The Bison tacked on their final run in the fifth when Digman led off with a single and later scored on Graham’s sacrifice fly.
Alger and Graham drove in three runs apiece for the victors.
Pultz is excited for his team to be one win away from a state berth.
“Wednesday is a big one,” he said. “I think we are destined for one more win to get us into state play.”
STRASBURG 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
BUFFALO GAP 016 010 x — 8 11 1
Hott and Capps. Alger and Digman.
W — Alger. L — Hott. HR — none.