Spartans softball advances to Regional Final Game
In the bottom of the 1st inning with two outs, Spartan Junior Hannah Nelson launched a ball over the head of the left fielder plating two runs, putting the Spartans up 2-0. Nelson also hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 3rd inning en route to an eventual 3-2 victory.
“I knew I had to put the ball in play, so anything close I took a swing at it, and it worked in my favor,” Nelson said.
Eighth grader Riley Miller got the ball for the Spartans, pitching all seven innings, striking out 11 batters.
With the Spartans up 2-0 entering the top of the 2nd inning, Senior Tiger Sierra Lantz got her team back in the game, cutting the Spartans lead in half at 2-1.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Nelson stepped to the plate with two outs and delivered an RBI single, but was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
“Hannah’s been bigtime,” said Spartans Head Coach Andrea Schwery. “She hasn’t been feeling the best, so she just comes out here and she’s been fighting through whatever is going on in her body and she was clutch. She was good and she handled the pressure really well. I’m very proud of her for making us look good and bringing in the runs.”
In the top of the 5th inning with the Spartans leading 3-1, Sophomore Tiger Charlie Pryor stepped to the plate and launched a home run over the head of Spartan left fielder Hailey Bieker to put her team down only 3-2.
“I think we knew going into it that Charlie is a stud both on the mound and hitting,” Schwery said. “We were just lucky that she was the only one that scored on it. I think that was one thing to keep in mind and just thinking on the positives of the situation. A good job of keeping her [Miller] head and responding and knowing there’s more game left to be played.”
The Tigers were threatening to score in the top of the 7th inning with two outs when Nicole Sherer stepped to the plate with a chance to tie the game and potentially take the lead, but she lined out to Spartan shortstop Shay Burmeister to end the game and send the Spartans to the Regional Championship Game.
“It feels really good just to know that our team that most people didn’t have confidence in that we could make it to the Regional Finals, so it feels really good,” Nelson said.
The Spartans will battle the 24-6 Southeast Warren Warhawks for the Regional Championship. The Warhawks are led by Sturgis Fridley with 38 hits and 38 runs batted in, batting .427. In the circle, Kaylyn Holmes leads the team with 13 wins and a 1.21 earned run average. Alivia Ruble leads in strikeouts with 138.
“It’s big time,” Schwery said. “Being one of 16 teams in the state is not easy to do. I felt like we had a really hard Regional with Audubon being super competitive and Woodbine is a very good team. It’s not easy to get here and I’m very proud of the girls on they’ve competed and played. I’m proud that they get to enjoy this moment and keep their season going.”