June 2, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
After Miranda Beimert's blistering two-run single in the third inning put the Wildcat softball team up 3-0, it looked like they were well on their way to a win in the opening game of the Section 7AAA tournament against the Andover Huskies. But a series of errors and mental mistakes allowed the Huskies to pile up runs and they beat the Wildcats 11-6 to end the Wildcats' season.
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the first inning, but came up with just one run to show for it. In the third, Katelyn Ramberg reached on an error to lead off the inning. Delaney Doriott bunted to sacrifice Ramberg to second, but also beat the throw to first for a hit. Kasey Eichten walked to load the bases. The next two batters went out before Beimert's big hit gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the wheels started to come off the Wildcat defense. A fly ball that should have been caught dropped right at the feet of a Wildcat outfielder for a single. The next Andover batter dribbled a single up the middle. The next batter hit a hard single up the middle. The runner tried to score from second, and a beautiful throw from center field easily beat the runner. But the tag was missed and Andover was on the board. A popup dropped 60 feet from home plate and another run scored. Two runs scored on a ball that went right through the legs of a Wildcat infielder. The Wildcats finally got a couple of outs, but Andover still had runners on second and third. The next batter bounced a single up the middle to drive in the final two Andover runs of the inning. The Huskies had hit just one ball hard during the inning, yet they scored six runs to take a 6-3 lead.
Doriott led off the bottom of the fifth with a blistering line drive double over the center fielder's head. Eichten hit a grounder to short and beat the throw to first by a full step, but the base umpire called her out. He made several bad calls in the game for both teams. (He is also widely known as a terrible baseball umpire.) Doriott then scored on Kayla Checkalski's groundout to third and the Wildcats now trailed by two, at 6-4.
In the sixth, more Wildcat fielding miscues led to five more Husky runs to put them up 11-4. The Wildcats scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. Jen Horst led off with a single. Two outs later, Eichten blooped a single to right. Both runners scored on a double by Checkalski over the left fielders head to cut the lead to 11-6. But it was too little, too late as the next batter grounded out to end the Wildcats' season.
Eichten did not pitch her best game of the season, but she pitched well enough to win the game. The defense had a melt down two innings in a row and the Wildcats failed to come up with enough big hits early in the game to put it out of reach. "That's why we finished 9-11 this season," said Wildcat co-head coach Herb Jangor. "We should have been up 5-0 or 6-0 early in the game but didn't get the key hit when we needed it. Our inconsistency did us in tonight. We played some good innings in the field, but had a couple of really bad innings. I was proud of the girls because they did not go quietly at the end, scoring a couple of runs in the bottom of the seventh."
Jangor talked about his four graduating seniors. "This group of girls has done a lot for our program. Kasey Eichten is one of the best senior leaders we have ever had in the program, on and off the field. She made the other players feel good about themselves and accomplished a lot as a player, too. Danielle Tossey was a quiet player who sometimes went unnoticed but always did a nice job. When all was said and done, she ended up with a pretty good career. Jen Horst was the ultimate team player. She always wanted to do whatever was best for the team. And Claire Habel left her heart and soul on the field. She always gave you everything she had. You like all your kids, but this group of seniors was hard to lose. They did a lot for this program and they were just great kids."relay.