BUFFALO - Buffalo went from the mountain top to the valley in a hurry Thursday at the Best of the Best Softball Classic.
The Bison were sharp in dispatching Clay-Battelle 10-0 for a three-inning, mercy-rule victory in the opener of the Class A competition, but committed six errors in falling to St. Marys 7-6 in a battle of state-ranked teams in the second game of pool play.
No. 4 St. Marys (13-2) scored three runs in the top of the first as the No. 1 Bison committed three errors and weren't able to recover in allowing five unearned runs. Buffalo also left five base runners on in the fifth and sixth innings combined and stranded eight total.
"We really just got down on ourselves,'' said Buffalo senior catcher Casey Cunningham, who went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. "All these mental errors killed us. We were hitting good, but not at the right time. We can play a lot better than that.
"When we lose like that we always come back with a win. We always work harder after a loss.''
Buffalo couldn't have looked any better against the Cee-Bees.
Bison sophomore pitcher Chelsey Parkins fired a perfect game with four strikeouts in a 25-minute victory. Senior Leslie Harris laced a triple and drove in three runs while Parkins went 2-for-2 with a triple and two RBIs and sophomore Katie Allen drove in two runs.
Buffalo (14-3), the defending state champion, has been riding high since earning the top ranking in the preseason poll and has done nothing to dispute its lofty status thus far.
"I guess when you're in this business for 20 years you see everything,'' said Buffalo veteran coach Darrell Moore of his team's quick turn of fortunes Thursday. "This is the worst ballgame we've played for a long, long time.''
The Bison closed to 5-3 in the bottom of the third against St. Marys, but junior Abbi Fetty singled in a run to push the Blue Devils' lead to 6-3 in the top of the fourth. In the fifth, Buffalo cut its deficit to 6-4, but Fetty doubled in a run in the top of the sixth to put St. Marys ahead 7-4. After closing the gap to 7-6 in the sixth, the Bison went down in order in the bottom of the seventh.