ANDALE — McPherson High softball coach Danica Fitzmorris is convinced she has one of the eight best teams in Class 4A Division I.
But the Bullpups won’t get a chance to prove it.
With a 3-2 loss to host Andale-Garden Plain on Thursday, the Bullpups won’t be making a repeat trip to Salina where they lost in last year’s championship game to Augusta.
The game was a microcosm of the season, which ended with a 12-10 record despite the fact much of the same cast returned from last year. The Bullpups were among the top-ranked teams going into the season, but could never gain any traction as they would take two steps forward and then one step back.
The championship game was all about pitching as the Indians were just a little better. MHS actually grabbed a 2-0 lead on a first-inning homer by Chelsey Kerr, but it was all singles after that. The Indians scored three runs early as the game featured zeroes for the most part.
“The girls have nothing to hang their heads about,” Fitzmorris said. “It was a hard-fought game on both sides. We figured that the Andale game would be a tough pitching match. And we were proved right. The first pitcher, just like during regular season, had a really nice change-up, however we think our girls did a good job adjusting to that. Both sides had a really tight strike zone, which was difficult for the pitchers to get ahead in the count. Madison Hoffman threw a nice. So you would've thought this would've turned into a hitting match. However, Andale ended up having three singles and one home run and we had four singles and one home run from Chelsea Kerr, so it was just a matter of stringing those hits together. They did and we didn’t.”
Fitzmorris was disappointed her team couldn’t get back to Salina.
“This season proved to be one of ups and downs, highs and lows, and some injuries along the way,” she said. “This was obviously not the way we had hoped it would turn out, but that's the game of life, sometimes you win sometimes you lose. As coaches, we feel bad for our squad from the freshman to the seniors. They are talented enough to be playing ball for another week.”
The Bullpups lose seniors Hoffman, Hannah Marshall, Jasmine Wann and Stephanie Farney. They have been the team’s backbone for several years and will be difficult to replace.
• MHS 15, Hays 5 — The Bullpups had no trouble with the Indians, as homers by Kerr, Marshall and Wann backed the pitching of freshman Bailea Crist.
Individual stats were not available.