By Vanessa McNamara - Barrett, MN
The West Central Area softball team finished the last two games before playoffs with some struggles.
It all started Thursday night against Upsala where the lady Knights had a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the 7th inning. Two fielding errors, a walk and some passed balls tied the ballgame with two outs. The winning run came in on a single to center field as Upsala posted a 5-4 win.
“Brianna Kreft pitched a great game striking out 6 and walking two,” reported Head Coach Vanessa McNamara. “In the box, we had a tough time getting hits to drop. Ellie Herman and Hailey Hansen led us with a few hits apiece.”
Friday WCA traveled to Wheaton and gained a 7-1 lead going into the bottom of the 6th. The Warriors took advantage of some walks and errors and eventually they cut the lead to 7-5. The lady Knights loaded the bases but didn’t score in the top of the seventh. Wheaton came back to score 3 in the bottom of the 7th winning the game, 8-7.
Hailey Bennett pitched striking out 10 and walking 9.
“The end of the week was disheartening for our whole team,” said Coach McNamara. “We were tied for #1 in our section and #1 in our conference as of Thursday morning. We came out and out played our opponents 12 of the 14 innings we played in those two days. It's tough to watch games like this slip away. Our kids were crushed, but are using this experience as a learning moving forward. Out of all the losses we have had this year, we have been ahead before losing. Our record really should be 17-1 instead of 13-5, as 4 of the 5 losses have happened in the 7th inning. This is part of having a young team. The good news is that they are excited to make the change and fight our way through playoffs. Each team in our bracket we have beaten at least once, so if we can show up to play all 7 innings, I feel very confident that we will use our abilities to finish when it counts! Although it was a difficult week, I am proud of my team for deciding that these events do not finalize who we are. They are coming ready to unite, fight hard and move forward. I wouldn't trade a single one of them. They really are amazing kids.”
West Central Area will host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in a first round playoff game at 5:00pm Tuesday in Barrett. The lady Knights received the number three seed in the Section 6A West Sub-Section, behind Brandon-Evansville and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.