Softball ends season with "game of the year"

Thursday, October 12, 2006
The Cassville Ladycats closed out their home softball schedule on Monday, Oct. 2. The Ladycats were set to face top-notch conference rival Carl Junction. The Bulldogs came into the game with 19 wins and a 5-1 Big 8 Conference record.

Pitching controlled the first two innings, as neither team would give up a run. Then in the third, the Lady Bulldogs would add a little pressure by scoring one.

In the fourth, Carl Junction added one more. The fifth would bring no scores for either team. In the sixth, Carl Junction would score two more, and that would end the scoring as both teams blanked in the seventh, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 4-0 win.

Despite very good play by the Ladycats, Cassville was unable to get a hit. Carl Junction's Amanda Storm is one of the best pitchers in the area and let only one Ladycat get on base, Jessie Gripka, on a base on balls.

Pitching for Cassville was handled by Brittany Vollen-weider. She gave up only three earned runs on five hits, and she struck out seven.

"We played very well defensively against a very good team," said Coach Bonnie Cox. "It was the last home game for our seniors, Julie Cupps and Jessie Gripka. We honored both of them with their parents before the game."

The JV also fell to Carl Junction by a score of 3-8.

District action

Last Wednesday, the Ladycats opened up district play against Aurora at Aurora.

Cassville would quickly jump on top, scoring four in the first inning. Aurora would put a run across in the third and then there would be three scoreless innings. In the seventh, Aurora was able to put one more across, but could do no more damage than that, giving Cassville the 4-2 victory.

Offensively, the Cats were helped by: Vollenweider, one-for-two with an RBI; Brittney Gatley, one-for-three with an RBI; Julie Cupps, one-for-three with a stolen base; Gripka, two walks and a run; and Annie Coupland, one RBI. Vollen-weider also pitched for the 'Cats, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out eight.

After the win, Cassville advanced to play the #1 seeded Republic Lady Tigers on Thursday. Pitching and defense would be the name of this game as both teams held each other tight.

Cassville was helped by two double plays and seven great innings of pitching. The score was still at 0-0 in the sixth inning when Cassville would put runners on base, but were unable to come up with that RBI hit.

Then again in the seventh, the Wildcats would again have another chance, winding up with a runner on third but again could not find that elusive score. So the game would go into extra innings with the score still knotted at 0-0.

In the eighth, Cassville was not able to generate anything, but Republic was able to find their stroke as they would knock in four and end the game to advance to the championship round.

Dakota Bowman led the hitting on the day with two. Gripka, Vollenweider and Gatley each had a hit as well. Vollenweider pitched an excellent game, shutting the Tigers out for seven straight innings and striking out three.

"Brittany pitched a great game with plenty of help from her catcher, Jessie Gripka, and the entire Ladycat defense," said Coach Cox.

Coupland and Gripka both were credited for double plays in the game. Coupland caught a pop fly at second and doubled the runner off at first, and Gripka caught a pop fly at catcher and doubled the runner off at first.

The Ladycats played a great game against Republic and truly showed their full potential.

"We played our best game of the year against the number one seed, and we are going to hold our heads high," said Coach Cox. "I am very proud of the girls who played their hearts out."

The Ladycats finished the season at 7-16.

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