HASTINGS — The Kearney Catholic softball team couldn’t stop the Yutan/Mead’s batters, and it sent the Stars packing after four innings.
The Stars fell to the Patriots, 15-4, during the second day of the Class C State Softball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon. The Stars’ season comes to an end.
The Stars don’t typically give up runs early on, but the Patriots, who only had one run against Malcolm in their opening round, was ahead 6-0 in the first two innings.
Leading the Patriots, now 30-6, was their lead-off slugger Shaylynn Campbell, who went 4 for 4 at the plate and knocked a pair of two-run homers.
“We knew that they have six really good hitters,” KCHS coach Syd Tidwell said. “Their batting averages were over .400 so we knew we had to be there pitching-wise. As far as I’m concern, they were. There was not a lot you can defend with a team like that. They played the best that they could with the situation.”
During the third inning, Kami Kaskie relieved starting pitcher Bralen Biddlecome with the attention of keeping the Patriots guessing at the plate. The Patriots were not phased.
“Bralen - they were hitting her, and the ball moves with Kami, so when they’re on six runs in two innings then we bring somebody else to get them off their game a little bit, and they got on Kami and then we have to bring back Bralen and see, and at the point, we had to do whatever we can to claw our way in there.”
The Stars showed some life in the bottom of the third as the Patriots were on the verge of ending the game after three. Lexi Keim and Carleigh Eurek hit a pair of singles to put the Stars on the board.
The Stars put up four runs on five hits and one Patriots’ error. Tidwell credited Kyleigh Seim for sparking the Stars with a ground ball hit to set up the Stars’ scoring.
“All weekend, I was like, ‘Kyleigh, you hit it right to them,’” Tidwell said. “This time, it’s going to get through. (It) got through, sparked us, and we scored four runs.”
The Patriots put the nail in the coffin with back-to-back home runs from Campbell and Sophia Brennan in the top of four. The Stars end the year with a final record of 30-8 in Tidwell’s season debut as head coach.
Tidwell reflected on the obstacles she and her team had to overcome during the regular season.
“I learned a lot,” Tidwell said. “I came in here in my first year of coaching. The girls taught me a lot. I learned from Marty (Schirmer) and Kenny (Owen) in the situations that I was in. There is just not a lot that wasn’t positive that I can’t take away from this season. We made it to state and beat St. Cecilia to put them in the loser’s bracket. I know that seems small, but to us, it was a big battle that we won, and I’m so incredibly proud of them.”
The Stars will lose six seniors who has been with the softball program since its beginning. Tidwell was filled with emotions when speaking about her group.
“I’m just really proud of them,” Tidwell said. “They knew that they have a lot of pressure on them, so coming into a season like that, it’s tough for our kids. They had a lot of pressure, and they did really well with it.”