WILLIAMS - Five good innings were overshadowed by two subpar innings here last Thursday evening for the Northeast Hamilton softball team in what turned out to be its season finale.
The Trojets (8-21) surrendered three unearned runs in the first inning, and after rebounding to take a 6-3 lead they once again stumbled in a 7-6 loss to Southeast Webster-Grand in a Class 1A Region 2 quarterfinal.
The Eagles (18-16) put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take the lead for good, and Northeast Hamilton was unable to scratch out another run in its final three at bats.
"We played five innings of really good, sound, fundamental softball, and then we had two innings of reverting to our old ways and that cost us the game," NEH head coach Dave Hilton said. "We definitely had our chances."
NEH roped eight hits off Eagles' pitcher Emma Clausen, led by junior Molly Greenfield who went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in. Greenfield also worked in the pitcher's circle for the Trojets; she was touched for 12 hits and three earned runs while striking out five.
"Molly had a really good night at the plate and I thought she pitched really well," Hilton said. "It was a tough night to pitch and I thought she hung in there real well."
Northeast Hamilton003 300 0-6 8 4
SE Webster-Grand300 400 x-7 12 3
Molly Greenfield and Jennifer Jeffers. Emma Clausen and Natalie Williams. W-Clausen. L-Greenfield. 2B-NEH: Greenfield, Jeffers. RBI-NEH: Greenfield (2), Jeffers, Jenn Willems.
Jennifer Jeffers went 2-for-4 at the dish with a double and RBI. Jenn Willems added an RBI base hit, and Andi Anderson and Leah Meyer added singles.
Hilton, a Hall of Fame coach who won two state championships at Webster City, says the Trojets - they return the bulk of the roster next season - have an opportunity to be a solid team in 2013. He just doesn't know yet if he will be in the dugout.
"With time, I think this group will do well next year," he said. "I would like to finish with these kids that I started with and they'll be seniors next year, but it may be time (to retire). I just don't know."
NOTE: Fourth-ranked Newell-Fonda (33-7) dumped Southeast Webster-Grand, 7-0, in the regional semifinal round on Friday in Newell. N-F will take on No. 12 Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn in the regional final tonight in Storm Lake.