By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Chase County has completed the regular softball season, and heads to the C6 district tournament starting today (Thursday) in Gothenburg.
The Lady Longhorns’ hopes for a No. 2 seed didn’t materialize, as they needed some help from a few other teams in other contests and didn’t get it.
Also, a couple of disappointing losses to Scottsbluff Sept. 28 were crucial, too, in having to settle for the No. 3 seed, meaning an earlier first game Thursday morning.
By less than a point, Chase County was squeezed out for the No. 2 seed by Chadron, a team the Lady Longhorns beat already this season. The tournament hosts, Gothenburg, are top-seeded.
Coach Denise Smith is upbeat about her team’s prospects at districts this week.
Going into the tourney with the best records (9-12) Chase County has seen in her time as coach, she said they have good chances if they play well.
They open tournament play Thursday at 9 a.m. MT against So. Valley/Alma, a team they’ve beaten three times and lost to only once this season.
That early season loss came in a game in which Smith shifted some players to different positions. She is confident they can beat So. Valley/Alma with their current lineup.
But, she also knows you can’t take anything for granted in the post-season.
All she has to do is look at last year’s C6 district tournament. Minden came in with just three wins, and finished as district runner-up.
An opening win against Southern Valley/Alma will send them up against Chadron at 10:45 a.m. MT. A loss sends them to the consolation game at 12:30 p.m. MT
She said the team would be working hard on hitting mechanics this week, as well as getting runners in to score. They’ve been struggling with too many runners left on base in recent games, she said.
Holdrege, GICC games
In their final regular season varsity games, Chase County lost a pair at the Holdrege triangular to two Class B teams last Thursday.
The Lady Longhorns lost a heartbreaker to Holdrege, 8-7.
After a scoreless first inning, both teams put forth their best inning of offense in the second as Chase County scored four and Holdrege, five.
Trailing 8-5 as they came to bat in the seventh, Chase County’s offense was sparked by a two-out, two-run homer from Abbi Vetter. Unfortunately, a ground-out ended the inning and game.
Coach Smith said the team left six runners on base, but it was a good game in which to head into districts.
The Lady Longhorns tallied seven hits against Holdrege, led by Vetter’s homer and a single. Josie Peterson doubled and singled, while Destiny Reinke doubled. Singles were recorded by Anna Bauerle and Cassie Burpo.
In six innings of work, Bauerle struck out three, walked four and gave up nine hits.
One bad inning against Grand Island Central Catholic (GICC) handed Chase County a second loss in the triangular, 11-1, in a shortened five-inning game.
GICC scored eight of their 11 runs in the fourth on eight hits and two errors. Smith said her team didn’t play badly, but GICC was a strong offensive team.
Chase County could muster just two hits, singles from Bauerle and Jodi Koellner. GICC chalked up 12 hits in the contest.
Josie Peterson pitched the first two innings for Chase County. Bauerle came in on relief and finished the game. No pitching stats were available.
Saturday’s tournament in Chadron, included Alliance but was cancelled due to snow.