Somerset softball ends season playing at top levelMany things haven’t gone right for the Somerset softball team this season, but the play shown by the Spartans in the final week of the season showed a team that never gave up.
Many things haven’t gone right for the Somerset softball team this season, but the play shown by the Spartans in the final week of the season showed a team that never gave up.
The Spartans faced two conference champions in the final week of the season and the Spartans nearly pulled off upsets both times. Against Lakeland Central Conference champion Shell Lake the Spartans gave a hearty effort in losing 7-6 in their final home game.
When the Spartans faced Heart O’North Conference champion Bloomer in the opening round of WIAA Division 2 tournament play, the Spartans were at the top of their game again. The Spartans battled right to the end, losing 3-0.
The Spartans finish the season with a 4-14 record. After winning three of their first five games this season, injuries derailed the Spartans’ hopes. Second-year coach Cory Lindenberg said his team never lost its fire and kept hoping the next game would be the one that turned them around.
“That speaks to the type of people on this team, that they put together this kind of effort,” Lindenberg said of the team’s final week.
Lindenberg credited senior first baseman Carley Seibel for keeping the team focused on the future.
Shell Lake came into last Tuesday’s game with a 19-1 record. Somerset scored single runs in the first and second innings. The score was 3-2 until the Lakers scored three runs in the fourth inning.
Somerset trailed 7-4 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. They weren’t about to give up. Sami Martell and Megan Starry started the inning with walks. Singles from Bethany Starry, Seibel and Anna Siggens produced two runs. The Spartans had the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at second base, but couldn’t get them home.
Bethany Starry pitched the first five innings against Shell Lake. Lindenberg was using this game as a build-up for Bloomer, trying to rebuild Starry’s endurance after she’d been bothered much of the season by an arm injury. She struck out seven and allowed two earned runs.
In both games last week the Spartans had to restructure their lineup after they lost shortstop Sadie Gilbertson to an injury. Senior Steph Berg stepped into the shortstop role against Shell Lake, making her first varsity start at the position. Lindenberg said Berg handled the assignment well.
“It’s nice to see a girl give it all she has,” he said.
There were further infield moves made for Friday’s game. Siggens was moved from third base to shortstop. Senior Haley Salley was moved from second to third and Katie Berg, Steph’s younger sister, was inserted at second base. Lindenberg said the infield performed admirably, with only one error in Friday’s game.
Starry pitched the complete game against Bloomer, allowing seven hits and striking out five.
Nobody was expecting the Spartans to give Bloomer a game, except the Spartans. Bloomer was 20-3, including sweeping its 14 games in the HON. Bloomer scored once in the second inning on a pair of hits. The score remained 1-0 until the sixth inning, when the lone Spartan error helped the Blackhawks add two more runs.
Lindenberg said it was clear Bloomer was uneasy, because the Spartans were putting up such a difficult fight.
“Everyone did a great job of maintaining focus. Our girls weren’t intimidated at all,” Lindenberg said.
The Spartans managed four hits in the game. They got runners to second base in the second and fourth innings, but weren’t able to get the extra hit to score those runners.