MANLIUS – Their heads were held high, not weighed down by tears that ran down their cheeks, in between long embraces with teammates that have been together for 4 years.
Smiles peeked out, in realization that the season won’t be remembered for this game.
Proud Morrison softball parents stood in silence as the team slowly creeped out of the huddle to greet them after the Fillies fell 7-0 to Alleman on Saturday in the 1A Bureau Valley Regional championship.
The Fillies (21-4) showed great poise. After a rough third inning that included three Alleman (22-8-1) runs, two errors, and an unlucky bounce of the ball, pitcher Allie Wiersema was the face of a team that didn’t want to quit. She quickly ended the fourth inning by only facing four batters.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” Wiersema said, “and we couldn’t let that get us down. They scored some runs, but we knew we had to score as well, so we didn’t let it get to us.”
Morrison had its best scoring opportunity to score in the top of the fifth. After two flyouts, leadoff hitter Shannon Finneran singled. Two more Fillies followed suit to load the bases. But three fell victim to the “left on base” stat line when Chelsea Eads popped out.
“We had our chances,” Morrison coach Tammy Deter said. “We had girls in scoring position, and just couldn’t produce a hit at the time. We had the right girls to hit and make it work, and we just didn’t. That’s how it goes.”
The Pioneers held a 3-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth, when Anna Wetherall singled, stole second and scored on a Mackenzie Sanchez double that ricocheted off the fence. Wiersema then ended the threat by forcing a ground out.
Alleman pitcher Dakota Stout made quick work in the top of the sixth, retiring the side 1-2-3. The Pioneers proceeded to score three runs in a two-out rally, before Wiersema forced a popout to end the inning.
With the FIllies down to their final three outs, the batters were patient in the box and the dugout was loud with encouragement. Belief in each other was as strong as ever, even down to the final out. There was no failure on effort, or lack of being a team – a Three Rivers champion team, at that.
“We never give up, no matter how many runs we’re down by.” Said Wiersema. “We always want to keep going, because we know we can start hitting well at any time. We believe in each other and ourselves.”
“I’m proud of the girls.” Deter said. “We have come a long way since the beginning of the year with what we started with, and putting girls in places and making a team. I thought we made a really good team.”