Dragons’ trip to state cut short by Mound City
Story and photo by Clarke Davis
The Valley Falls girls’ softball team was the first one on the scoreboard Friday night in its debut game at the 2-1A state tournament, but one second-inning point was insufficient.
Dragon Marley Boldra pitched a shutout until the fifth inning when Mound City-Jayhawk Linn broke loose and scored three points.
Centerfielder Morgan Streeter slugged a three-base fly ball in the top of the seventh, giving the Dragons some fresh oxygen but there were two outs and she would not get home.
The lone Dragon to score was Jade Edmonds, who got on base with a single and was brought home by Vanessa Heinen.
“One point is not enough to win,” said coach Caleb Gatzemeyer. “We were getting hits, we just couldn’t put them together.”
Gatzemeyer said it was a shame to leave the tournament that early because there was no dominate team in the tournament.
“I feel our team could have beaten any team there,” he said.
The game ended the Dragon season with an 14-10 overall season record. It brought to a close the high school careers for seven seniors, Streeter, Heinen, Boldra, Edmonds, Abbey Kearney, Kaitlyn Speer, and Ashlyn Tillery.
“I told the girls not to let this loss take away from the fact that they made it to state. I’m proud of them for playing a great season and finishing strong,” Gatzemeyer said.
He told the girls that the only tears that should be shed are those of the seniors who have ended their high school sports careers.
“Yes,” Gatzemeyer said, “there is crying in softball. In fact, some of the girls watched the movie ‘A League of Their Own’ before the state game.”
The coach, now in his sixth year, said losing seven seniors will be difficult but he has good talent coming on.
“I believe the younger girls, having the experience of going to state, will be motivated to go back,” he said.
He noted that it was great to have so many fans in Emporia. “The roar of the crowd when we were introduced was awesome,” he said.
Top seeded Spearville (22-1) was defeated in its opener by bottom seeded Sacred Heart of Salina (11-12). Sacred Heart went on to defeat Mound City, but lost to Udall in the championship. Udall was the second seed. Mound City defeated Brookville-Ell Saline for third place.
Other teams in the Emporia tournament were Humboldt and Wabaunsee.
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