Rangers fall to Mater DeiMay 24, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
BRETZVILLE — Forest Park (5-19) junior starting pitcher Ali Welp started off Monday evening’s Sectional 48 game against Evansville Mater Dei with a swift 1-2-3 inning on the mound. The teams endured a scoreless first frame, but the Wildcats and Rangers made solid contact in the sweltering May heat before Forest Park dropped the 12-3 decision.
“I only had 11 (players), but I’d take these 11 any day,” Rangers head coach Kelly Schroering said. “They’re just quality young ladies and quality people to be around. I just enjoy being around them. They put the effort in to make themselves better this year.”
Forest Park surrendered six runs in the top of the second inning, but the Rangers did not allow any runs in the subsequent three innings. Welp allowed five hits in 5.1 innings, and only one of the seven runs she permitted was earned. She also recorded two strikeouts in her outing.
“She competed,” Schroering said. “That’s what I can say about this whole team, too. Besides the word ‘improvement,’ I think we have competed all year. It might not look like that on the scoreboard sometimes, but they are not giving up.”
Mater Dei junior starter Sophie Kleiman recorded eight strikeouts in five innings of work. Forest Park sophomore Macey Geyer recorded two of the Rangers’ five hits in the game.
Forest Park showed some resilience when Mater Dei senior relief pitcher Taylor Gerth entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rangers freshman Avery Riley and sophomore Carley Begle produced all of Forest Park’s runs in the frame. Riley knocked in two runs with a deep double to left field, and Begle followed with a run-scoring double in the same spot.
“Sometimes, they don’t understand that you’re not going to hit .500 here in high school ball,” Schroering said. “That is a rarity. A .300 average is good, and that’s where they’re sitting at. That’s what we want — a quality at-bat like both Avery and Carley had.”
Geyer, Riley and junior Madison Wathen scored Forest Park’s three runs. Begle, Geyer and Riley accumulated two total bases apiece.
The Rangers find themselves in an intriguing spot for next season. Forest Park did not field any seniors this year, so the current core will remain intact. The squad worked through an unprecedented season, and the veteran leadership could be a boon for the future campaign.
“It’s a unique situation,” Schroering said. “Usually, you’re talking to seniors. For us, it’s different. That’s been a challenge all year, but it’s also been a positive. It’s kind of been both for us. I look forward to these ladies coming back next year and showing how much we’ve grown this season. We’ll start off and do some big things next year.”
As the Rangers huddled together, Schroering expressed her gratitude for the team’s growth throughout the year.
“Usually, there’s a different feel when you lose in the sectional,” she said. “We’ll work on improving. I’m just happy to be their coach.”
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