SCIO, Ore.–As they sat in the huddle for the last time this season, they knew this pain all too well having gone through this one too many times before.
They knew they are capable of getting to that Big Dance and bringung home that trophy; that why it hurts so much.
You saw the pain, even with the coaching staff because of all that hard-work and sacrifice they put in this season.
“It’s hard, it’s always hard when you get a group of girls that work this hard, I’m sure Dayton works really hard too so it’s hard to say we deserve it more in this game,” said Head Coach James Mask. “But I see how hard they work everyday and it’s one of those things where you want it for them really bad and you deserve when you work that hard to see good things happen.
“That’s what we teach all the time right? You work hard and good things will happen for you.”
The junior-heavy class knows that all but two of this year’s great team will return, but of those two seniors in Nora Mikolas and Emily Unrau, the girls and their Head Coach knew how hard they worked to leave their legacy.
“They did so good, it’s got to be tough knowing that every game could be your last,” said Rheanna McDaniel on the Senior Duo. “And they’ve came out and they played every, single ball that they got to them and every, single ball that came into contact with, they made it like it could be their last play and that’s tough. That’s a tough thing to do.
For Mask, he spoke very highly of the legacy that Mikolas did during her four-years as a Lady Logger and Unrau stepping in during the past two seasons as a catcher.
“It’s amazing the work they’ve put in,” said Mask. “Emily she doesn’t play softball like these other girls do, but she can come in here and she does a good job for us catching and it’s got to be intimating coming into that situation with all these girls who play year-around softball and everything else. You know she came in, worked her butt off and I’m just proud.
“And Nora, she’s just been our rock all along. She played all four-years, she was a stud as a freshman on a not-very-good-team and she ended up being a stud on a really good team the last three-years and she was someone we’ve always counted on in every big game she’s always played well and I’m really going to miss her a lot.”
Mikolas finished her Lady Logger career going 2-4 with a RBI.
There’s a lot of frustration there as they see Dayton celebrating that 13-4 victory on their half-turf, half-grass field and thinking what could’ve been. But the progression that they’ve made this season alone is something they can rest their hats and bats on.
“It’s our third-year losing in the semis and I know it’s really hit me hard,” said McDaniel. “I don’t want to end my senior year like that and I know for sure nobody else here does. So I think next year, more so, we’re going to be able to lay everything on the line knowing that it could be our last High School Game and I think we’ve learned a lot from this season and the past season’s; we’re definitely going to come out with that fire next year.”
As for that fuel, that fire, it’s definitely their being at this point the past three-years. Three-years for this junior class sniffing the promise-land of the State Title game, it sure lights a fire under them as they know further now how they can improve entering their senior seasons.
“It definitely adds fire because we know we have the potential, it’s just a matter of executing it and we’ll just have to work on it in practice, there’s a lot of little things we can work on to improve upon for next year,” said Brooke Young who went 3-4 in the Semi-Final loss with a team-high two RBIs and adding a double.