On Tuesday, the Monroeville Lady Eagles took on the Mohawk Lady Warriors in the Division IV district semifinal game at Shelby High School. It was the first time the Lady Eagles had been to the district tournament since 2014 and the Lady Warriors find themselves in that situation quite often. On Tuesday, the Mohawk experience showed as early nerves made the difference in the Monroeville loss.
A couple of defensive mistakes in the third inning allowed Mohawk to scored four runs in the inning and essentially win the ballgame.
“We are going to grow from this,” Helmstetter said. “Nerves showed up big time at the beginning of the game. We made some major defensive mistakes and it hurt us while also giving them all of the momentum. At the plate, we just didn’t adjust. We did execute things we worked on, but we are a work in progress. Now we have to go start making progress again. We have two more games to try to find out if we can rebound and look forward into next season.”
After two misplayed fly balls, the Lady Eagles found themselves in a 4-0 hole after the third and also saw a struggle at the dish. Mohawk added one in the fourth and four more in the fifth on a grand slam to take a 9-0 lead. The Lady Eagles had just two hits through six innings. Ashlyn Tommas picked up the first Monroeville hit in the third while Hannah Laney added a pinch-hit single in the fifth.
Monroeville avoided the shutout in the seventh after Brooke Kime led things off with a single and Carley Helmstetter ripped a 2-run home run to get the Lady Eagles on the board, but it was too little too late as the Eagles bowed out of the tournament in the district semifinals.
Monroeville claimed a sectional title, took second in the Firelands Conference and were a district-qualifying softball team.
“It isn’t what our goals were at the beginning of the season, but yes it is very good progress,” Helmstetter said. “I am proud as can be of them and what they have done this season. We will learn from this game and make adjustments for the future. Hopefully we will be right back here next year.”
The Lady Eagles current hold a 16-6 record with a pair of games left to play. They return their entire lineup except for one senior in Courtney Kraft. While she finished hitless in her last tournament game, Helmstetter admits she made an impact on the program that will be felt for years to come.
“She is a fantastic kid,” Helmstetter said. “She was the one that handled every thing during the hit for a cure game we had earlier this season. We will have a senior night for her and honor her like she should be. I cannot say enough about what she has done for this program. She leads by such a good example for everyone else and is the type of kid who will do anything for any one of her teammates. We will miss her a lot.”
Heading into next season, the Lady Eagles are the early favorites to contend for a Firelands Conference championship and should make it back to the district tournament. But the Lady Eagles have higher expectations on themselves.
“We always set our expectations very high,” Helmstetter said. “If we don’t set them high, what are we playing for? We will learn from this season, regroup and give it everything we got in these final two games.”
Monroeville closes out Firelands Conference play on Wednesday hosting Plymouth.