Rangers fall to Braves' bats in sectional semis

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Forest Park's Macie Zink, left, and Lydia Hauser hug after Wednesday's class 2A sectional game in Bretzville. Tecumseh defeated Forest Park 12-2 in five innings as the Rangers were unable to slow down the Braves' bats. For more photos from the game, click here.



BRETZVILLE  — The Forest Park softball team came into their sectional semifinal game with some good things going for them. They not only won their last five regular season games, but they also drew a bye before playing Tecumseh last evening. Conventional wisdom would say the Rangers had the momentum on their side going in but the Braves used their hot bats to flip the odds with a nine-hit, nine-run second inning that dug the Rangers a hole too deep to climb out of as they were defeated 12-2 in five innings.

Rangers head coach Kelly Schroering thought the girls gave it their all when it came to playing the Braves (22-3, 6-2) for the second time this season, but their 16 hits plus the mistakes in the field were simply too much for the Rangers to overcome.

“These girls had fought all game long, but you can’t get yourself in a hole against that kind of team,” she said. “They were hitting it and we were making mistakes on the back end of it. That frustrates you no matter how much you say you tried. It hurts because they know that wasn’t their capabilities.”

The first inning started about as well as the Rangers (14-8) could ask for. Junior shortstop Macie Zink reached second base after her flyer was dropped in left field, and a bunt from junior starting pitcher Allyson Werner drove her in to put the Rangers in front 1-0. The Rangers followed that with a defensive stand which saw them fan the first three Braves batters in the bottom of the first.

But the Braves were able to break loose in the second. It started with back-to-back singles from freshman shortstop Reagan Hight and junior third baseman Leah Beach. Freshman starter Ashtyn Green hit a third consecutive single that scored Hight and tied the game. Junior first baseman Chloe Holder clocked a double that scored Beach and freshman courtesy runner Emily Bogan for the 3-1 lead. Chloe Holder would later put up the fourth run as junior catcher Kennedy Sermersheim tried to catch sophomore catcher Emma Holder stealing second, but left home plate open. Freshman left fielder Kinsly Heichelbech proceeded hit a double to score Emma Holder for the 5-1 lead.

Piling on to the offensive explosion was junior centerfielder Samantha Boylls who launched a bomber out over the right field wall to put up two more runs for the Braves. Freshman right fielder Kaybree Oxley took first on a single, but subsequent throwing errors in the field allowed her to round the bags and come back home. Finally, a double from Green’s second plate appearance drove in senior courtesy runner Courtney Duncan and put the Braves up 9-1. The Braves scored three more runs across the fourth and fifth innings to bring the game to an end, but the damage that was done in the second proved to be insurmountable.

Forest Park's Lydia Hauser catches a throw at first base during Wednesday's class 2A sectional game in Bretzville. Tecumseh defeated Forest Park 12-2 in five innings. For more photos from the game, click here.

Werner pitched one and one-third innings and allowed seven runs on six hits and a walk. Freshman Ali Welp finished up with 10 hits for five runs and two walks. Zink went 2-for-3, while Werner and junior third baseman Kylie Giesler each had an RBI.

Green pitched five innings and allowed four hits for two runs. Boylls finished 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Chloe Holder also had two RBI.

“Tonight we just came in tight and we’re not a team that can play tight,” said Zink. “We’re a team that can play loose, joke around with each other and that’s when we put runs on the board. Tonight our fundamentals didn’t click together with how loose we should have been."

While the loss was disappointing, Schroering believes that this season is a step in the right direction. They finished with 14 wins and only lose two seniors to graduation this year. Everyone stepped up to fill whatever needs the team had when the Rangers were working through injuries in the beginning of the season, and Schroering believes the players that return can use Wednesday's game as fuel to help them move forward in spring ball comes around next season.

“We’re not letting the mental breakdown happen,” she said. “We’re going to be strong. Just like in life things will get you down, (but) can you come back from it? That’s what I hope they carry into next year.”

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