By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– For any athlete, to go out on top and leaving it all on the field is all you can ask for.
To start their final game on the road to end their softball careers that has stretched since they were really young, Emily Lindemann and Sydnee Neuharth were honored by the North Marion softball squad on the Lady Husky Senior Night.
Something that is awesome to have something like that happen to them said Neuharth.
“It was pretty cool because we didn’t get a Senior Night ourselves so it was nice of them to share it with us,” said Neuharth of the honor.
Game one comes and goes, Stayton won 9-0 behind Kelsie Walkers two-hitter with five strikeouts. Neuharth went 0-3 with a RBI off a Sac-Fly, Lindemann was 1-2 with two outs to help the Lady Eagles preserve the shutout in the first game.
Game two starts and the Lady Eagles were slow out of the gates, but jumped on North Marion with a 10-2 lead; Lindemann slowed the progression of the Huskie runners when they hit her direction in Left Field while Neuharth made some cruical catches to keep North Marion at bay.
But, they would need every one of those ten-runs late, and as Neuharth walked up for her final at-bat of her career with Lydnsey DeSantis on second, the senior hit the ball to a favorable spot she’s been hitting too as she had a special feeling about that spot again in this at-bat.
On a 2-0 count, Neuharth made contact. To that same spot…but a tad farther.
This time, landing on the other side of the fence to put her team up then 12-3 and seemingly in full control of the game entering the Bottom of the sixth inning.
“It was pretty good because I hit it to the exact same spot every single time throughout the past two games,” starts Neuharth on that at-bat. “And I came up there like, ‘it’s going to hit to the right field every time, same spot, second base’, and then I hit it over so it was pretty cool.”
Then, a little monkey-wrench in a pitch-perfect way to end their careers with North Marion scoring eight runs over the next two innings as the tying run was feet away of possibly sending this game into extra innings.
“That was definitely a nail bitter, but I just try to encourage everybody to kind of take a deep breath, saying ‘we got this’, just getting over emotions a little bit. Just play our game,” said Lindemann.
Walker, who came in for relief for Sydney Maruer, with the backing of her defense, struck out Hannah Kinniburgh for eighth-strikeout of the day.
The win felt so good said Lindemann as the team saw her and Neuharth to the dugout before breaking themselves minutes later, especially getting a string of wins here to close out the season.
“That felt really good, I felt like I left everything on the field for ending my career, so it feels good getting a couple of wins,” said Lindemann.
Stayton finishes the season 7-14 and 5-10 in Oregon West Conference play, a two-game improvement in league play with all but two players returning from this years team to next year.
“I really hope that they can learn how to be role models to their teammates and be good leaders and learn how to play hard and just lift each other up in times like this,” said Lindemann.
Emily Campbell, who’s going to be a senior herself next season, seeing this exposure of a 9-0 victory and pulling off a 12-11 nailbitting win will show this returning groups that they can do it entering the next season in terms of confidence building.
“I think it’ll gives us confidence to come back and really work hard because we’ve been kind of working and I’ve seen a lot of people on my team not really wanting to be there and I think this really pushes them to really come back and start the season off again,” said Campbell. “It’ll be nice because I don’t want to see anybody go.”
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook