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Prep Softball: Cards write a not-so-happy ending

COLD SPRING -- A potential dark horse entering section play, the Willmar softball team instead saw its season end with a thud Thursday. The third-seeded Cardinals were outhit 19-6 and committed eight errors, losing 19-2 to No. 7 seed Big Lake in ...

COLD SPRING - A potential dark horse entering section play, the Willmar softball team instead saw its season end with a thud Thursday.

The third-seeded Cardinals were outhit 19-6 and committed eight errors, losing 19-2 to No. 7 seed Big Lake in a Section 5AAA elimination game.

The Hornets, who were just 6-15 going in, were in control from the start, opening up a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning.

They then blew things open in their final two at bats, scoring four runs in the sixth inning and nine more in the seventh.

The Cardinals came into the postseason red-hot, winning six of their final seven regular season games. That included wins over the second-ranked teams in both Class AAA (Rocori) and A (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg).

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But the section was a completely different story, as Willmar was outscored 26-3 in two games.

Coach Shannon Cayler said the biggest reason her squad fell flat was a lack of confidence that sprung forth when things began going south.

“A few girls started the season strong and we were unable to get them to believe in themselves again after hitting some ruts,” she said.

Despite the poor end to the season, 2016 still marked a major step forward for the Cardinals. After winning just two games a season ago, they finished this year 12-10.

It was the program’s first winning season since 2010.

There’s reason to expect further improvements next season, as the entire starting lineup will return.

And while she expects her team to “soar” in 2017, Cayler says it will only happen if the problems that sometimes plagued the Cardinals this season are fixed.

“We obviously need to be more confidant and more consistent,” she said. “The girls need to believe in themselves in pressure situations. We will work on those things this summer and next season.”

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Big Lake 19, Willmar 2

Big Lake                022 204 9- 19 19 0

Willmar 001 100 0- 2 6 8

HITTING – Big Lake: Hannah Kuhlow 3-6 r rbi-5; Rachel Adams 3-5 2b r-2 rbi-2 … Willmar: Karina Rice 1-4; Jordyn Swoboda 1-3 rbi; Larady Lange 1-1; Lexi Kopacek 1-2; Carly Hulstein 1-2; Emma Culshaw 1-2; Abygail Kienholz 0-3 r; Anna Backes 0-0 r

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Big Lake: Kelsey Breitkreutz (W) 4-4-2-1-2-4; Anna Peters 3-2-0-0-1-4 … Willmar: Kopacek (L) 4-6-6-2-0-1; Backes 3-13-13-7-2-1

 

Related Topics: SOFTBALL
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