Another year is in the books for the varsity softball team. After winning state last year, the Crusaders returned to the state tournament in Hastings looking for another big win. “This year was different because we had a different approach. We lost a lot of talented players last year, so we had to go about things a new way. Instead of looking at the tournament as a whole, we took it one game at a time,” senior outfielder Melissa Geis said.
The No.7 ranked Crusaders started off their state journey on Oct. 12 with an exciting 6-1 win against Millard West. “My favorite moment from State was the game we played Millard West…we got the last out and I looked over at my coaches and team in the dugout and everyone was really excited,” freshman first baseman Tory Villotta said. The upset against the no.2 ranked team gave the Crusaders a new source of energy.
The excitement did not stop there. The Crusaders then went on to play No.6 Millard South later that night. The game brought an emotional milestone for senior outfielder Kelly Gehring. Gehring hit her first ever home-run, a grand slam, in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring the score to 5-7 and teared up while rounding the bases. Although the game concluded in a 6-14 loss, the Crusaders stayed positive. “Even though we lost, we still didn’t give up at all. We could’ve given in and just got run-ruled but we stuck it out and fought through the entire game,” Villotta said. The team then went back to their hotel and rested up for the next day.
Rejuvenated from a good night’s sleep, the team continued their tournament run the following day. Being down one game, the Crusaders faced elimination against No.8 Lincoln East. After a hard-fought battle, the Crusaders lost, 0-10. Despite the difficult ending, the Crusaders look back on the tournament with positivity. “The tournament was definitely a learning experience, and I’m confident that we’ll come back better and more prepared next year,” junior third baseman Cammy Gregor said.