A magical, improbable run for the Meadville softball team came to a close on Saturday.
The Meadville Eagles fell to Knox County in the state quarterfinal game on a beautiful but windy day at Rusk Park in Brookfield, 17-0, in a game in which Knox County pitcher Katie Hamlin completely dominated.
"We knew going into today that they were a very good team," Meadville coach Drew Nier said. "We knew it would take a perfect effort from us today, and I'm proud of the way we fought to stay in this game as long as we did."
Though the game lasted only five innings, the only blemish in the scorebook against Hamlin was allowing a single walk.
Knox County struck in the first inning when Tadym Mason blasted a three-run homer to right field. Though that proved to be all Knox County needed, it tacked on at least one run in every inning from that point onward.
Meadville did make a series of plays in the fourth inning to allow just one run out of a no-out jam with bases loaded. At that point, the score became just 5-0. For that, as well as for keeping the game close for three innings, Knox County coach Zach Short was highly complimentary of Meadville.
"That was a huge momentum swing, and I told our girls we couldn't take any opportunity for granted," Short said. "They made great pitches, and that could have made the game turn the other way. That first inning was huge, and we wanted to get out to a fast start so we could breathe a little deeper and apply pressure."
Meadville's only baserunner was pitcher Makenzie Dennis, taking a walk in the fourth inning. Dennis allowed eight hits and walked nine.
The Meadville Eagles end their season under the .500 mark at 9-10. Meadville had to battle back through district play and the sectional round just to achieve .500. Knox County moves to 18-4-1 and will face Lewis & Clark adversary Salisbury in the state semifinal.
Nier spoke upon how memorable this run will be for his girls, and how improbable it is for the seniors to end their careers finishing in the top eight in Class 1.
"For these seniors, they began their careers as freshman winning just two games," Nier said. "I told them today that I'm a big believer in leaving something better than the way you found it, and for them to be state quarterfinalists is pretty remarkable.
"If you'd have asked us two-thirds of the way through the season if we'd make it this far, people would have laughed at us. Once we got a little momentum and a little confidence, we got hot at the right time."