Softball Suffer Heartbreaking Loss on Senior Night

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On Tuesday, the softball team suffered a heartbreaking loss against the Mills Vikings on their senior night, by a score of 7-6. The loss also pushed M-A out of contention for a share of the league title. 

The evening started with a ceremony celebrating seniors Dani Koo, Ashlyn Roeder, DonnaBella Gaetano, and Valeria Barron Valdez.

Gaetano stated, “Even though we lost, I feel like we put up a really strong fight and I’m super proud of the team for leaving it all out there in the biggest game of the year.”

Dani Koo started pitching for the Bears, and handled the first three Mills batters with ease, tallying her first strikeout of the night. M-A had a chance to get on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as they quickly loaded the bases. However, the Vikings’ pitcher got herself out of trouble, and Mills got out of the inning unscathed. 

The second inning saw equally as little action as the first, freshman Juliana Pandolfo made an impressive throw across the diamond for an out, and Dani Koo caught a ground ball and threw a runner out to bring M-A back up to bat. A single by sophomore Carey Maletis eventually landed her on second base, but once again the Bears could not capitalize on their scoring position, and the third inning started with the game 0-0.

The first Mills batter of the third inning was walked, followed by a single to get into scoring position. Another single brought a Viking home, and advanced runners to second and third base. A ground out brought a second run home, followed by a crucial strikeout from Dani Koo. But the Vikings would not go away, smashing a single and a double on consecutive at bats to nudge their lead up to 4-0. 

M-A’s bats finally got hot in the bottom of the third inning though, as two consecutive walks and a single from Roeder loaded the bases with zero outs. Another walk brought an M-A runner home, and the ensuing batter, freshman Gracelyn Nava, smacked a single to bring another runner home. A groundout from sophomore Elise Koo cut the Bears’ deficit to one before the inning finally ended, 3-4.

Two quick groundouts, followed by a fly out caught by Nava ensured the Vikings did not extend their lead any further in the top of the fourth inning. However M-A stayed red hot, as Pandolfo roped a triple to start the bottom of the inning, followed up by a Dani Koo single RBI, to tie the score at four. 

Mills started to find their swing again as the fifth inning got underway, they lined a single into center field, followed by a looped double to bring a runner home and retake the lead. But a groundout to end the inning kept M-A in the game. The bottom of the fifth inning was disastrous for M-A, as a miscommunication at second base resulted in a double play, and the fifth inning ended with the Vikings leading 5-4.

Mills got an early single off Dani Koo, and a second single brought a run home for Mills, bumping their lead up to 6-4. Dani and Elise Koo then switched positions, with Elise becoming the pitcher, and Dani going out to play center field. The Vikings got a double right away to bring a seventh run home, but Elise Koo weathered the storm, and the score remained 7-4. 

Unfortunately the Bears watched three batters go up and down in the bottom of the sixth inning, meaning they had their work cut out for them in the final inning.

M-A made multiple incredible defensive plays in the top of the seventh, but two fly out catches by Maletis and freshman Miya Yu stood out as especially outstanding. It came down to the bottom of the seventh inning, and M-A needed to rally. It started with a single from sophomore Kylie Cox, followed up by a double from Elise Koo. Mills then committed an error on a Maletis single, allowing two M-A runs to score, however there were also two outs. Gaetano stepped up to the plate, and laced a single through the gap, and Yu also connected on a single putting runners in scoring position. In the end, a line out ended the game in heartbreaking fashion, a 6-7 loss for the Bears. 

After the game, Dani Koo said, “I think we need to clean it up overall and not let the small errors get to us, we also need to hit consistently throughout the game and not have so many dead innings.”

Roeder added, “I feel like the season as a whole went quite well and the fact we were in the position to take league despite losing our first game to Mills was amazing.”

The team will plays again Friday at 4 pm against the Terra Nova Tigers.

Chase is a senior and in his third year of journalism. Chase is a sports editor and loves writing about sports events and music. In his free time, he plays soccer and hangs out with friends.

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