Cheney’s softball season came to an end with a 9-3 loss to Marysville in the opening round of the 3A tournament on Thursday in Manhattan.
Marysville pitcher Shelby Downard was the main reason why.
Downard got on a roll with her rise ball and had the Cardinals guessing most of the way. They managed three runs in the second, but nothing else. They consistently swung at high pitches and struggled to put the ball in play.
“That pitcher had more movement on the ball than we did,” Cheney coach Matt Johnson said. “She threw a good rise ball. If you are going to swing at a pitch out of the zone that makes her even more effective and we swung at a lot of pitchers out of the zone and picked up strike outs.”
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Marysville got off to a hot start by scoring two runs in the first inning, but Cheney bounced back quickly with three runs in the second to take the lead. It seemed like the third-seeded Cardinals had settled down.
Yet they failed to keep pace with the Bulldogs from there. Marysville scored two runs in the third and three more in the sixth. Third baseman Kali Crome put the game out of reach with a two-run homer in the sixth.
Emily Monson pitched all seven innings for Cheney.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as they did,” Johnson said. “That’s the difference. You have got to hit the ball a little better.”
The result left Cheney players disappointed, but they were still proud of their season. Their final record was 20-2, and the future appears bright.
Cheney’s roster only features two seniors, and they were the only two players involved with Thursday’s game that had been to the state tournament before.
Perhaps experience gave Marysville a boost. That’s something Cheney hopes to have next season.
“We have lost two games all year and we have got a great core group coming back,” Johnson said. “We lose a few seniors, but we have a good nucleus. Our pitcher is coming back and so are several infielders. We will make some adjustments and certainly make an effort to get back here next year.”
Marysville 202 302 0 - 9 9 2
Cheney 030 000 0 - 3 4 2
WP - Shelby Downard. LP - Emily Monson. HR Kali Crome.