MANSFIELD — When the season started three months ago, reaching the third round of the state playoffs seemed like a far-reaching dream for a team with no seniors and just two juniors.
The fact that Maypearl’s softball team reached the third round and won a district championship makes Friday’s 7-0 loss to Bruceville-Eddy in the regional quarterfinals a little easier to take.
“It’s been amazing,” head coach Stacey White said of the team’s run to the third round of the playoffs. “The girls have worked really hard all year and have progressed and gotten better every day. That’s all you can really ask for.”
Maypearl had its hands full with Bruceville-Eddy’s pitcher, Hayle Friudenberg, who had already thrown three shutouts in the postseason.
Maypearl’s Brittany Widner was up to the task of matching the Lady Eagles’ hurler as the team’s went through the first three innings with the only base runner coming after a Maypearl error in the third inning.
Things began to get away from the Lady Panthers in the fourth as they committed four errors and Widner allowed one hit. Bruceville-Eddy took full advantage of the miscues and took a 4-0 lead by the end of the inning.
Widner and the Lady Panther defense settled down after the turbulent inning, allowing just one Lady Eagle to reach base in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the seventh, Bruceville-Eddy again took advantage of Maypearl errors as the Lady Eagles extended their lead to 7-0 with the help of five errors.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, sophomore Kirbie Day was the first Maypearl player to reach base when her line drive fell out of the third baseman’s glove.
Although the Lady Panthers stranded a runner on first base when the inning was over, it was the only inning in which Friudenberg did not record a strikeout.
“I think a lot of it had to do with us being young,” White said of the team’s 11 errors. “Physically we’re capable of competing with teams like that, but mentally we’re not there yet.
“We’ve come back from big deficits before this year, but unfortunately we couldn’t pull it out this time.”
Although the season came to an end Friday, White believes the Lady Panthers have a lot to look forward to in the next few years. “We’re going to have everyone back so that’s something to look forward to,” she said. “This playoff experience will help our confidence and make us better down the road.”
Bruceville-Eddy 7, Maypearl 0
Bruceville 000 400 3 — 7 1 1
Maypearl 000 000 0 — 0 0 11
WP — Haley Friudenberg. LP — Brittany Widner.
Records — Bruceville-Eddy 23-3; Maypearl 20-13.