Whitko softball loses extra-frame sectional opener

OSSIAN — Whitko’s softball team’s season came to an end Tuesday night in what Head Coach Jamilyn Pegan called, a “heart-breaker.”“It was a heart-breaker but they went down strong,” Pegan said. “I’m proud of them. “We were one run away, one hit away, one play away.”The Lady Wildcats fell in the fifth frame, 2-1.After a tough start from the plate, the Lady Wildcats got on the scoreboard for the first time in the sixth inning.“They hung in there,” Pegan said. “Especially when they were struggling with hitting in the beginning.”Audra Day hit a sacrifice to send fellow senior Karissa Olinske to home plate to tie the score at one.Whitko nearly took the lead, but with two runners on base, the inning ended with a fly-out.In the seventh inning, Jenny Brown, pinch runner for Chloe Nestel almost stole home plate on an error, but was tagged out at the plate to end the stanza.In the bottom of the seventh, Heritage hit a ball to center field, a runner from first base tried to take third, but was tagged out by Nestel to end the seventh frame.With two outs in the eighth inning, Himes got on base with a single, but a hit by Cassie Jones landed in the mit of the Heritage shortstop to end another chance at a win.In the bottom of the eighth frame, Heritage’s bats caught fire. The Lady Patriots had two doubles put runners on second and third base.With one out, the next batter hit a bunt to load the bases. The final batter had another hit to send in the runner on third base to win the game 2-1.Pegan said the team will lose valuable seniors.Olinske has pitched around 130 innings for the Lady Wildcats.“Karissa is known as the iron woman,” Pegan said. “She just keeps getting stronger. It was nice to see her throw even harder tonight.”The team also loses Day, Jones and Lynsi Hicks.“Audra has really put her heart into it as well, she’s played from outfield to catcher,” Pegan said. “They were a great group to work with over the last four years and we’re going to miss them.”