MANCHESTER—The Central DeWitt softball team knew they had a tough task ahead of them in the regional final on Tuesday night. That didn’t make the 6-1 loss to West Delaware any less heartbreaking.
Tears were openly flowing from the Sabers, who finished a phenomenal year on the road just one game short of the state tournament.
“We had opportunities,” head coach Lee Swanson said. “And we had opportunities a few times with runners at second and third, and we just didn’t get out of the box. It cost us.”
The two WaMaC foes met each other just a couple of weeks ago in DeWitt and split the twin bill. Even Tuesday it was a stalemate for the first few innings.
West Delaware was the one to break it with a two run-fourth. What started as a solo homer off of Central DeWitt starter Mya Cavanagh ended with another base runner and then a double for a 2-0 lead.
“I think what hurt Mya a little tonight was that we didn’t have control of our rise pitches,” Swanson said. “It wasn’t so much of what they’ve seen, it was just that we didn’t have control tonight. It’s tough to control your nerves and control that pitch.”
The Sabers were able to tack on a run of their own in the fifth after Payton Preston’s double plated their first run. But as the sixth started, the Hawks’ offense was rolling.
They added four runs in the sixth. It started with Cavanagh and then freshman Keeley Jansen finished the night.
“I looked at my assistant and said what do you want to do, we need to make a change,” Swanson said. “What we did was brought in a freshman, who now knows what that’s going to feel like going into next year … she has to be ready to play in a game like this.”
Once again in the sixth, the Sabers had two more base runners who couldn’t advance.
The Sabers finish the 2019 season as WaMaC champions and with a 28-9 record. They say goodbye to a handful of seniors who played huge roles in this year’s success. That includes Mya Cavanagh, McKenzie Rosenboom, Emily Swanson, Katie Fox, and Payton Preston.
“They mean everything,” Swanson said. “They’ve been leaders the whole year and they’re going to leave a legacy that no one else has ever done.”