The Sherwood softball team faced no shortage of motivation entering Monday night’s contest at Blair. There was the lingering sting of last year’s season-ending loss, suffered at Blair’s hands in the region final. And there was an article recently printed in a community newspaper in which Blair players made bold comments to which Sherwood’s players took offense.
Indeed, Sherwood sophomore pitcher Meggie Dejter said she could feel the difference in her team’s approach during its 8-3 win Monday.
“There was more tension because we knew what was at stake,” Dejter said. “There’s a lot more need to this game, so everybody was putting more into it.”
Sherwood (7-0) fell behind by two after a sloppy defensive effort in the bottom of the third led to Blair (8-1) scoring all three of its runs. But as his players trotted onto the field for the top of the fourth, Blair Coach Louis Hoelman III later said, he worried they’d lost some of their focus.
Warriors senior Sara Sabry led off the fourth with a triple, and Sherwood proceeded to score six runs that inning.
Sabry’s triple “really took the air out of us, and I don’t think we bounced back quite how we should have,” Hoelman said. “So I think we got too high, and then we got too low.”
Sherwood senior Kristen Holonich went 4 for 4 with three RBI, but it was Dejter who was most responsible for stifling Blair’s comeback efforts. Dejter allowed four hits on the night, but none outside of the third inning.
“After we kind of got boggled up after that third inning, we were like, ‘All right, we’ve got to set it straight,’ ” Dejter said. “And then we got locked in, locked in. And then we were ready to go. Nothing was getting through us.”
Sherwood tallied four errors during last year’s season-ending loss to Blair in the region final, and while Monday night’s defensive effort wasn’t flawless, the Warriors were sound enough to prevail against their chief rival. Blair, meantime, posted five errors and struggled to support a solid outing from senior pitcher Sam Schweickhardt.
Before the game, Sherwood Coach Pat Flanagan wrote two questions on the chalkboard in her team’s locker room. She asked how her players had felt after last year’s season-ending loss, and how they wanted to feel after Monday’s contest.
After Monday’s win was complete, Holonich said she felt relief above all else.
“All of our other games are important, yeah,” Holonich said. “But this is our most important one. We were so ready for this.”