Minster softball finishes 8-1

Seth Kinker
Sports Editor

The Minster softball team finished their summer schedule 8-1 after a 13-3 victory on Thursday night over the Leipsic Lady Vikings. 

With one last game under the lights at Four Seasons park, and despite five regular starters on the road with their travel softball teams, the Lady Wildcats scored in every inning on a perfect evening for some softball.

“We went from 0-100 in about a three-day period,” said Minster head coach Robb Hemmelgarn after the game on getting some softball in this summer despite the craziness that has been 2020. “We didn’t know if we were ever going to play again and then all of the sudden, we’ve got a full schedule going in a month. I’ll be honest, there’s a couple times during that month, it wears on you. Either a practice every night or a game every night.”

“Tonight,” he added. “it was all about soaking it in, not worrying about what we didn’t have (this year) but focusing on what we did have. And were very fortunate that we have the facilities we do, the commitment from the girls, the commitment of the coaching staff we have, tonight was just tremendous, were very fortunate.”

The Lady Wildcats took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first when senior Kaitlyn Wolf, one of four Minster seniors playing their last game in a Minster uniform, hit a ball back towards the mound with runners on first and second that was thrown to second but mishandled. 

Wolf made it to second and scored freshman Lyndi Hemmelgarn and Kaycie Albers, who had both reached base on back to back singles. 

Another senior, Laney Hemmelgarn, brought home Wolf, who had stolen third base, as the next batter with a single to the right side of the infield to make it 3-0. 

In the bottom of the second, senior Sam Trego hit a bloop to right with one out to get on base. Trego stole second and was brought home two batters later by sophomore Jenna Schulze’s hit to center to make it 4-0. 

Junior Alayna Albers hit a liner to short with two outs and La. Hemmelgarn on second, the ball was fielded and thrown to first but an error allowed La. Hemmelgarn to score to make it 5-0 in the bottom of the third inning. 

The Lady Vikings would hit consecutive singles in the top of the fourth to load the bases with no outs. An infield pop-fly to Trego was the first out. 

A Lady Vikings double just inside the third baseline on the ground scored two to make it 5-2 with one out and putting runners on second and third.

The next batter popped up to center, scoring a runner from third but the throw from home back to third caught the other runner advancing from second to end the threat with the Lady Wildcats still holding a 5-3 lead. 

Ly. Hemmelgarn responded for Minster in the bottom of the fourth on a one out hit. After Schulze got on base then stole second and third, Ly. Hemmelgarn grounded out to second to bring Schulze and make it 6-3. 

Albers singled up the middle on a one out hit to score La. Hemmelgarn in the bottom of the fifth to stretch their lead to 7-3. 

The Lady Wildcats put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh inning, adding six runs. 

First, Albers singled to center with runners on second and third to make it 8-3. Wolf, the next batter up with runners on the corners, singled to left to make it 9-3. 

Three batters later and with two outs and the bases loaded, junior Brynn Oldiges singled a pitch to shallow center field scoring two to make it 11-3.

Trego, the next batter, singled back to second but the ball was mishandled as she scored a runner from third and was safe at first to make it 12-3. 

To cap off the run, Gabrielle Wehrman hit through the infield gap between second and third base to bring in one final one as the scoreboard read 13-3 after three more outs. 

Junior Rachael Hoying and La Hemmelgarn split time on the mound. Through four innings, Hoying had three strikeouts and until the top of the fourth, each inning went 1-2-3. 

In the top of the fifth, La. Hemmelgarn struck out the first three batters. In the top of the sixth, she earned another strikeout and induced two  groundouts, and in the top of the seventh, she retired the side without letting a run cross the plate. 

Next year, the Lady Wildcats will have six seniors coming back, six juniors, three sophomores and a freshman class with big expectations.

“I told the girls I can’t even pick a most improved player this year,” said R. Hemmelgarn on the team’s development in this summer season. “In four weeks, everyone showed tremendous improvement without many practices at all. I think we really ignited the flame of some of the girls that weren’t very confident softball wise. I saw those girls gain so much confidence in these four weeks, it’s going to make us even better. We're very fortunate and looking forward to what we have coming up.” 

After the game, the team huddled up for one last post game talk at the pitching mound where they talked about not taking any days for granted. 

“Three months ago, this wasn’t going to happen and then it does,” said R. Hemmelgarn. “We talked about commitment and a lot about what it takes in the offseason to get better. We talked about commitment, what we have coming up, and goals for next season. This summer is over, now were looking forward to ‘21 already.”