Lady Wildcats runner up in district tournament
Cassville softball breaks Monett curse, falls in championship
The Cassville softball team did something last week it hadn’t in 17 tries over 13 years — defeated Monett — but the Lady Wildcats ultimately fell short of a district title on Friday, falling to Logan-Rogersville.
The Lady Wildcats earned a hard-fought, 10-8 win over the Lady Cubs on Oct. 12 in the opening round of the Class 3, District 4 Tournament.
Things didn’t look so hot for Cassville early on, falling into a 4-0 hole midway through the third inning.
“Mentally I think there was some pressure on the mound and we had trouble hitting our spots early, and they put the ball in play,” said Lori Videmschek, Cassville coach. “With their speed, they can get around the bases when they get a hit.”
The Lady Wildcats’ determination was on display in the bottom of the frame, with Macie Walker scoring on a single to left field to put them on the board. A ground out from Kalee Lowe sent Emilee Mann across home plate, but gave the Lady Wildcats two outs in the inning with one on.
Cassville used the momentum of the 2 runs to explode for 5 more in the frame via four singles, a reach on error, a hit by pitch and a walk.
“We started getting base hit after base hit and were able to score some runs,” Videmschek said. “We became more disciplined at the plate and when we were swinging at strikes, we were hitting balls well.
”[Going into that inning] I told them we’ve got a lot of time left and if we can string some hits together and score a run or two every inning, we have a good chance. I’m proud of the girls and how they didn’t quit.”
Cassville added a run in the fourth and 2 in the fifth to go up 10-4, but Monett wasn’t finished. The Lady Wildcats staved off a 3-run sixth from the Lady Cubs, plus a 1-run seventh, ending the game on a ground out with two runners on for Monett.
“We haven’t beaten them since maybe 2008, or so I heard, so this win is a big deal,” Videmschek said. “We finally got over that hump, and the girls are excited.”
Alyssa Whisenhunt led Cassville at the plate with 3 hits and 2 RBI. Six other Lady Wildcats tallied a hit each, and Walker added 2 RBI.
Whisenhunt started the game on the mound, going three innings and giving up five hits, 4 earned runs while striking out 1. Isabelle Edwards took over the game for the final four frames, allowing 8 hits, 3 earned runs and striking out 3.
The No. 2 Lady Wildcats bested Seneca in the semifinals on Thursday, 8-1, but fell to Logan-Rogersville in the championship on Friday, 8-4.
“We played Seneca two other times this year and didn’t play our best, but I told the girls going in that you can’t look at the past, and that it’s tough to beast the same team three times,” Videmschek said. “Alyssa pitched a great game and we hit well and played good defense. I think they were a little shocked at first at how well we were playing.”
In the championship, Videmschek said the Lady Wildcats suffered from a tight strike zone.
“That was a great game, and they are the No. 1 team in the state right now,” she said. “We had a tough time getting our curve ball called for strikes. We out-hit them 9-5 and they had 3 earned runs and we had 4. We just couldn’t catch any breaks. That strike zone was so tight. We gave up 8 walks and we hadn’t done that all year.
“But, the kids never quit battling and we went down fighting with some runners in scoring position. If we had played like that all year, it might be a different story.”
Videmschek said the Lady Wildcats, at 14-14 and district runner up, showed how much a team can progress in a season with hard work and being healthy.
“We started the season not very good, but we started to get things figured out and in the last week-and-a-half we got a lot of kids back that were injured and played our best two games. Everything clicked, and we were playing our best at the end of the year.”
With how this season ended, Videmschek said she’s excited for what 2022 will bring.
“I hope we gain some momentum for next year,” she said. “We lose our four seniors, and I hope the kids coming up will strive to get back to the district championship next season.”