A rough first inning was enough to doom the South Tama softball team and end its season last week.
The Trojans gave up seven runs in the opening inning to Prairie-City Monroe. The Trojans mounted a small comeback, but lost 12-4, ending their season.
"We had a bad first inning," head coach Chelsea Ahrens said. "We battled back and put four runs on the board later. They just hit the ball well against us. Everything they hit was falling in the gaps or over our heads. They are a good-hitting team."
South Tama struggled at the plate early, but never gave up. STC scored its first run in the second inning, before adding three more in the sixth inning, closing the gap to 8-4. PCM added two runs in the sixth and seventh innings each.
The Trojans collected 10 hits, led by three from Jade Rohach. Sam Holtz added two hits, while Hailee Weiss had a single and a double. Jenn Maus, Sarah Holtz and Trisha Walz each had a hit in the game.
"We battled offensively," Ahrens said. "Sam and Jade each had three hits that night. Hailee had two hits. We ended up with 10 hits, so we were battling, but just couldn't get any runs across."
The Trojans finished the season with a 10-22 record. They won seven more games than last year. They lost six games by two or fewer runs this season.
"It was a good year," Ahrens said. "It was the best year we've had at South Tama since 2004. A lot of positives came out of the season and a lot of people might think it's because we switched conferences. I would disagree, because we went 3-0 against our old conference this year. We had some tough competition in the NICL. East Marshall is a state qualifier. We also played Marshalltown and Bondurant, who both qualified for state. I think we would have 10 wins in either conference."
STC loses its pitcher next year as Maus has graduated. Maus was also one of the Trojans' best hitters with a .340 average and two home runs.
"We're not going to be able to replace Jenn on the mound or at the plate," Ahrens said. "She's been here for five years. We're going to work on pitching hard this offseason. Sam, Callie Hala and Julie Wise know that they have a lot of work to do this winter and I think they want to work hard this winter."
Sarah Holtz was the other senior. She hit .298 as the designated hitter for most of the season. The Trojans lose two good hitters next year, but Ahrens is excited about how many players return.
"We do lose two seniors," she said. "But the good thing is everyone else returns. We return eight starters on our defense. That's something to look forward to next year."