Friday, May 9th, 2014
Wildcats win outright MAC softball crown
By Robb Hemmelgarn
ST. HENRY - It was a routine play that Minster third baseman Marissa Conrad had made countless times this season.
Only on Thursday in St. Henry, stepping on the bag for the final out of the game symbolized something that Minster softball has never tasted in the history of their program: the Midwest Athletic Conference championship.
In a contest that was never in doubt the Wildcats pounded out 14 hits en route to a 14-1 blasting over the St. Henry Redskins at the Wally Post Athletic Complex.
"I usually don't get real excited about a lot of individual games, but getting a win tonight and our name on a trophy that will last forever is a really great feeling," said Minster coach Scott Robinson, who earns the MAC Coach of the Year honor for leading the team to the conference title. "I am very happy with how we hit the ball tonight and we didn't strand a lot of runners on base which is a positive as well. We managed to put the ball in play and it made it difficult to defend. It is good to get out of here with a win tonight."
Kayla Richard allowed just four hits and an unearned run in her team's historic win and helped her cause with two hits and a pair of runs batted in.
"It's one of the best feelings in the world to win the MAC title," explained Richard. "Accomplishing this with my team is incredible. We came out tonight and hit the ball well and that helped to build our confidence both on defense as well as at the plate."
The Wildcats got the scoring underway with a pair of runs in the first inning off of St. Henry pitcher Paige Muhlenkamp before unleashing their bats for five runs on four hits in the third inning. They tacked on another run in the fourth frame when Conrad reached base with her second single of the game and later scored on a pitch that skidded toward the backstop.
"It feels amazing to do this in our senior year, knowing it was the final chance that we had to win the league," remarked Conrad, who knocked in a pair of runs in the triumph. "St. Henry loaded the bases at the end of the game, but I wasn't really nervous at all. I knew we would pull through and it was a great feeling stepping on third and knowing the game was over."
Trailing 8-0, the Redskins made some offensive noise when Olivia Holdheide reached on a walk and later scored courtesy of an RBI single by Muhlenkamp. The Wildcats left little doubt after that as they batted through the lineup in the top of the sixth and cleared home plate six times to secure the victory. The highlight of what would prove to be Minster's final trip to the plate was a base-clearing triple by senior first baseman Nicole Brandewie, who boomed her second triple of the evening. Brandewie had a career night with the bat with three base hits with three runs batted in.
"Minster played the hardest tonight and definitely deserved the win," St. Henry coach Kylie Huelsman said. "They hit the ball well and didn't make many mistakes defensively. They are a very good team and it showed tonight. We have played a stretch
of a lot of games in a row and have been making way too many mistakes. When this happens, the girls get frazzled and frustrated with themselves. We need to find a way to recover after getting down."
Minster improved to 19-1 overall with the victory and finished their conference slate at an unblemished 7-0. They return to action this evening at home against Wapakoneta and on Monday will take on Bath. The Redskins slip to 9-12 with the setback and end conference play at 4-3 in the MAC, hosting Anna tonight.