Excitement was in the air on Tuesday July 1. The senior Trojan softball players celebrated their final home game as part of the 2014 STC Softball Senior Night celebration. With their parents in tow, seniors Tori Appelgate, Madison Baack, Sam Holtz, Trisha Walz and Hailee Weiss took to the infield before Tuesday's game to celebrate their time as STC softball players. The celebration was a fitting sendoff for the five senior Trojans and it would take more than a little rain to squelch their emotions.
For coach Chelsea Ahrens this is a special group of senior girls. The young women can be credited for helping turn the softball program around for the better. Baack, Appelgate, Holtz, Walz and Weiss have been on the varsity roster since their freshman year when they brought home three wins.
Throughout the past four years the girls have grown in their skills and knowledge of the game and have helped to create enthusiasm around the program with their consistent leadership and work ethic. All five seniors also have plans to attend college in the fall. Holtz and Walz are headed north to Wartburg College where Holtz plans to throw shot put for the track team and Walz will look to play volleyball. Appelgate will be attending the University of Iowa while Weiss is headed to Iowa State University. Baack will be attending the University of Northern Iowa.
After the celebration there was still a game to be played. The Trojans were up against the fourth ranked (1A) AGWSR Cougars. The Trojans and Cougars last meeting was on Wednesday June 4 for a double header in Ackley. The Trojans fell to AGWSR 0-12 and 1-3.
Leading the Trojan defense from the circle was senior Sam Holtz. The Cougars continue to be led by their lone hurler, Ashley Sicard.
With two games against the Cougars under their belt the Trojans came out of the gate Tuesday looking determined. Holtz and the Trojan defense stood tall for the first half of the game as they only allowed one run in the second inning while getting several key stops in the field to stave off any further damage from the Cougars.
The run came from a ground ball single from Alexa Johnson. Jami Johnson also hit a single that would put runners on first and second for Maddie Deters. Deters followed with a double that brought A. Johnson home for the Cougars first run.
The Trojans confidence started to wear as Sicard pitched a quick three outs to get the Cougars back on offense. In the top of the fifth inning the Trojans quickly got the first out as Olivia Ingledue tapped a bunt towards third baseman Dani Stubbs who threw to first baseman Walz for the out.
Unfortunately for the Trojans the momentum was about to shift in the Cougars favor. Sicard, who is currently batting .430 with 35 RBIs and 12 home runs, stepped up to the plate and hit a fly ball out of the park for a solo home run. The junior Sicard is currently leading 1A with 12 homeruns this season, which is also tied for second most in the state. The solo shot gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead with only one out in the inning. From here on out the Trojans fought to regain their composure. The Cougars scored two more runs in the fifth courtesy of Abbi Young and A. Johnson.
Sicard led her team not only from the pitcher's circle but at the plate as well. Out of her five at bats she totaled three hits, one run, and two RBIs. Sicard finally started to wear out after all of her pitching and homerun hitting and gave up one run in the bottom of the sixth. Holtz hit a fly ball to center field for a single. Dani Stubbs reached first on a fielder's choice to shortstop Morgan Kappel. Naomi Hoskey (running for Holtz) was forced out at second as Kappel threw to Young at second base.
The Trojans were due for a break and Weiss would offer just that as she hit a line drive for a double, brining home Stubbs for the Trojans lone run.
Weiss, the always-reliable shortstop went to work in assisting in the first two outs, which brought Sicard up to the plate again.
Fans held their breath as Sicard got a crack on Holtz's first pitch that thankfully sailed straight up and right toward Holtz who charged forward to grab the out.
The Trojans had one last shot in the bottom of the seventh but Sicard had just enough left in the tank for a quick three outs (including two strikeouts) that ended the game with the Cougars up 10-1.
The Trojans will take on top ranked East Marshall in Le Grand on Tuesday July 8 for the first round of regional playoff action. Ahrens is looking at defensive options to hold the Mustang offense in check as the team prepares for the game.