Lady Lions fall short at regional

BREMEN — The Lady Lions reloaded and returned, but they fell just a little short again.
Bremen softball’s state tournament run ended at regional a second straight season as the Lions succumbed to visiting Eastside in a nip-tuck 2-1 outing at Pfeiffer Field in Sunnyside Park Tuesday night.
“They’ve got seven seniors on that team. If you’ve got a senior-lead team — good for them — that’s how you want to go out when you’re a senior,” said Bremen head coach Mike Huppert.
“But I told our girls let’s not cry about it, let’s just think about what we can do better in the offseason and be mad about it. Because revenge is better than crying over spilt milk. You don’t want to have short memories on games like these. You want to remember these.”
Ashton Miller got the better of Bremen’s Chelsea Huppert in a classic pitcher’s duel, giving up one earned run off three hits with nine strikeouts versus just one walk in the win. Huppert finished with two runs off five hits and one K versus no walks on the rubber for Bremen.
“They did a real good job with the strikeouts,” said Huppert. “I think we counted nine or 10, so that shortens the game a little bit.”
As they often do in championship games, mistakes proved costly for the Lions Tuesday.
A single and a pair of infield errors left the bases loaded in the fifth. Miller’s one-out fly to left was caught by Bremen’s Rachael Czarnecki, who relayed to Emily Molden at third, who in turn got the ball to Micaela Box at second for a force out when Whitney Gearhart neglected to tag up, but the double play wasn’t turned before Kailen Berry scored from third on the play. After some discussion at home plate, Berry’s run was officially scored, and the score remained 2-1 the rest of the way.
“We were thinking that it was a force out, and it was more of an appeal play,” said Huppert. “So with it being an appeal play, the run scored first before the throw out. That’s how they got that run counted.”
With the score locked at 1-all, the Lady Lions had a chance to score the go-ahead in the fourth after Molden reached on a single, and pinch runner Liz Hooper reached third on a Shelby Zellmer single and a wild pitch. But Hooper was thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch in a Czarnecki at-bat to end the inning.
“We got our first run being aggressive, thank goodness. Then we got the play taken out there at home being aggressive again, knowing that it was going to be a tight game like that,” Huppert said.
Eastside initially jumped out to a 1-0 lead off two hits sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt in the second.
The lead didn’t last long as Bremen answered back with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning when Zellmer singled to shallow center, and courtesy runner Amanda Kline stole second and took third on a wild pitch, allowing Huppert to drive her in on a grounder to short.
While Eastside advances to play the winner of Shenandoah and Elwood at the Eastern Semistate Saturday, Bremen closes the season at 23-8 with its second straight sectional championship in tow. The future looks even brighter for the Lions, who will graduate none from this year’s squad.
“Everybody coming back, hopefully we can bring a JV extra player up with us next year that can help us,” said Huppert. “As a season, 23-8, 46 wins in two years, regional down to the last play of the game, both regionals down to the last half of the inning. We talk about rebuilding and we mentioned it before over at Westview (Sectional), we’ll continue to build and get better. With our 14U group we’ve got a lot of second place, and I think next year will be our time to nail this one, let’s put it that way.”
At Bremen Regional
Eastside: 010 010 0 — 2 5 0
Bremen: 010 000 0 — 2 5 1
WP: Ashton Miller; LP: Chelsea Huppert
Records: Eastside 28-4, Bremen 23-8