Heartbreaking end for IMS
It seemed like the beginning of a storybook ending for Iowa Mennonite softball on Monday night.
IMS trailed Winfield-Mount Union 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning in the first round of district play, and the lone senior on the team was due up to start the inning.
Jacayla Litwiller came up to bat, drawing a lead-off walk, and seemed to be at third in the blink of an eye, stealing second and then advancing on an error.
Pitcher Rachel Miller singled her home to make it 4-2, and the rally was on.
Summer Schrock reached on an error to make it first and third with one out, and an Averie Blauvelt grounder seemed sure to score a run, but Miller was thrown out at home.
Demi Brezina walked to load the bases with two outs, then a crucial mistake by Winfield-Mount Union gave IMS more hope.
A balk advanced all the runners, scoring a run to trim the lead to one run.
Statia Majerick slapped a grounder to third, but the defender was able to make the play, heaving it to first to end the game and Iowa Mennonite’s season by just one run.
“(The end) was exciting,” Iowa Mennonite head coach Kim wood said. “I knew that the people hitting and getting on base would get our team started and that little flicker would get them going, but we all thought that we were just going to pull this out, and it was a heartbreaker. For Jacayla, she ended it on a good note with a great game tonight, and everyone had a great game tonight. I always tell them it’s not the score that matters. People don’t see the fight we have. They aren’t here and they see a score and that’s not what goes into it.”
IMS ends the season with a 2-19 record, and after a rough first inning, was able to keep the game well within reach.
Three walks, a single and two hit batters led to three runs in the top of the first inning, but after that frame Miller was able to strike out seven batters, giving up only two hits, three walks and one run which came in the top of the seventh.
“(Rachel) just has to find a groove,” Wood said. “She’s young but she has done amazing. She has never really pitched this much, because she had told me no coach had really let her pitch and so this was one of her first outings. Rachel was phenomenal for us this season. I couldn’t ask for anything more, and she’s worked so hard and come so far since that first game.”
Offensively, the team was led by Litwiller, who scored two runs on two walks, while stealing two bases. Miller also picked up two hits on the night along with an RBI.
“I feel like we won the last half of the game,” Wood said. “We might have lost the first inning, but our girls have never, ever given up and it’s proved it tonight. They’ll stick in it until they tell us it’s over, and I’m just proud to be their coach.”
The loss ends the season for IMS, while Winfield-Mt. Union will face Lone Tree on Wednesday night.