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by Chanse Hall
The Raiderettes faced a tough loss against the Ogden Bulldogs in the first round of the State Softball Tournament Tuesday night.
In a contest that went the distance, the Raiderettes fell 5-2 after holding an early 2-1 lead over the Bulldogs.
“It was a little chaotic and that’s where I like to play a little bit,” said coach Bret Ruggles. “I felt really good coming into it and they had a weird little play with (Denali) Loecker that I feel swung the momentum.”
That play by Loecker came in the bottom of the first. On a fly-out the Raiderettes tossed the ball and walked to the mound, with Loecker on first. No one covering second saw the University of Iowa commit steal second and reach home after a missed throw went deep into center.
Mount Ayr’s only runs came in the first but held strong all knotted up at two headed into the fourth.
The Bulldogs pulled ahead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth after the Raiderettes intentionally loaded the bases, walking Loecker all night. She did not have an official at-bat.
“I will take away your best player and make them beat me with someone else,” said Ruggles. “I do it in basketball, and I’ll do it in softball, too, and they did it.”
Jenna Palmer hit a deep ball to right for a double that cleared the bases.
The Raiderette bats would go down in order until the sixth inning, when they found a base but left Channler Henle stranded.
Mount Ayr’s defense, however, was able to hold the Ogden Bulldogs to five runs through the rest of the night.
Mount Ayr graduates senior shortstop Sam Stewart and catcher Abigail Barnes, handing the keys to the powerful Raiderette softball team to the next ones up.
“I’m really happy we made it here and I’m going to miss my team,” said Barnes. “We are like family. We are really close. I wouldn’t ever want to play anywhere else with any other coaches or any other people.”
Barnes is headed to Graceland University to play softball.
“I feel very good that we made it this far and felt like we were really underestimated coming into regionals,” said Stewart. “It feels different because we treat each other like family, we pick on each other, we yell at each other, but we are always there for each other and lean on each other at the end of the day.”
Stewart is headed to Peru State University to play basketball.
The Raiderettes finished their unique season 10-5.