News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 8, 2014

Magnificent postseason run for West Vigo softball comes to close in semistate

West Vigo’s softball team went further than any girls team sport ever has in the school’s history

TERRE HAUTE — It didn’t go West Vigo’s way in the Class 3A Brown County softball semistate championship. The unranked Vikings fell 6-0 to No. 4 Gibson Southern on Saturday.

But it’s hard to dwell on what went wrong when so much went right for the Vikings in a magical postseason run.

West Vigo wasn’t necessarily favored to win its sectional, and had to rally from a three-run deficit in a rain-interrupted semifinal against Owen Valley, to pull it off.

But from there? It was all roses. A win over long-time nemesis Edgewood in the sectional championship game. A victory over perennial power Tri-West in a regional came last Tuesday, but the best moment came earlier Saturday, when Shelby Edington’s two-run home run gave the Vikings a dramatic walk-off victory against unbeaten Lebanon.

There was no repeat of those heroics against Gibson Southern, but it doesn’t stain the moments it took to get there.

“None of this sunk in until now. We might have lost, but it’s just sinking in how far we’ve come,” West Vigo senior catcher Brittany Voils said.

West Vigo pitcher Leah Morrison, who held high-powered Lebanon to one run earlier on Saturday, labored against Gibson Southern.

The Titans (29-3) had multiple runners on in each of the first six innings. West Vigo walked a tightrope all game long to minimize the damage — the Titans stranded nine runners — but there were too many opportunities for the Titans to squander outright. West Vigo also had three errors.

“We made some mistakes. When you’re playing for a semistate championship, you can’t do that,” West Vigo coach Cherish Easton said.

Trouble was evident for West Vigo from the start as Gibson Southern’s first two batters reached base. A RBI single by Taylor Rogers and a run-scoring groundout by Sydney Norris staked the Titans to an early 2-0 lead.

West Vigo (24-10) was having trouble mustering offense against Gibson Southern starter Jamie Nurrenbern. It was hard for the Vikings to get the ball in the air. Through three innings, the Vikings hit into five groundouts.

The Titans added a run in the top of the fourth as Rogers singled home Paige Harpenau to make it 3-0. West Vigo’s best chance to stay close also came in the fourth, but the Vikings stranded the bases loaded.

The Titans broke it open in the fifth and sixth innings. A two-out Vailey Eberhard RBI single made it 4-0 in the fifth. After Harpenau — who was 4-for-4 — led off the sixth with a single, she scored on a double throwing error by the Vikings. Ashtin Seaton, who reached on the initial error, scored from third on a groundout, and West Vigo trailed 6-0.

The loss stung, but West Vigo’s softball team went farther than any girls team sport ever has in the school’s history. Despite the disappointment, that is the legacy these Vikings will always have to savor.

“We’ve cried, we’ve laughed. It’s something nobody else but us can imagine what it feels like to do,” Voils said.

Six of the Vikings who started Saturday return next season. Six seniors ended their careers on a very high note.

“I am so proud of these girls. We accomplished so many things this season, from big things to little things. Some things didn’t go our way tonight, we had some uncharacteristic errors, and you have to score, but regardless, I’m so proud of these girls. Best team I’ve ever coached,” Easton said.

Gibson Southern advanced to play Leo in the Class 3A state championship game next Saturday in Indianapolis.

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