Hempfield hands L-S softball team first loss of the season in league playoffs

With each passing inning, the skies looked much more ominous at Garrett Park. The winds blew, the clouds darkened, the rains came. And just like that, the L-S softball team's perfect season was unceremoniously washed away.
The ominous sky warned of a negative outcome, one that
unfortunately came to fruition as the Pioneers suffered
their first loss of the season


Seeking to consummate its undefeated regular season with a league championship, the Pioneers fell short, falling to Hempfield 2-0.


The first warning clouds appeared in the first inning when the typically unhittable Jordan Weaver surrendered a leadoff single and then a walk. A baserunning error by Hempfield helped the Pioneers escape the jam.


The bats never got started, however.


It was nine up and nine down through the first three innings for L-S; Robin Feaster recorded the only hit, and her pinch runner was caught stealing.


The sky grew darker in the fourth inning as Hempfield moved runners to first and third before a groundout to shortstop ended the inning.


L-S appeared to have its leadoff runner aboard in the fourth inning when Bri Garber laid down a gorgeous bunt, but the umpire ruled the ball dead after it apparently bounced off either the batter or the catcher in the batter's box, a call that enraged the L-S fan base and prompted an ultimately ineffectual discussion between skipper Tim Shoff and the ump. Later, Garber struck out.


The next batter was Jordyn Kondras, who reached base on an infield single and promptly stole second base, advancing to third on a sac fly. Delaney Baker's groundout ended the inning without a score.


The winds began howling in the fifth. Sensing opportunity, Hempfield moved a runner into scoring position with one out. Their next batter singled to left, but Delaney Groff fired a rocket in from left field to nail the runner at home, ostensibly.ending the threat. However, an infield single put runners on second and third after defensive indifference, a line drive to right field went over Feaster's head that turned into a two-run triple.


The Pioneers mustered one hit in the fifth, but went down in order with three consecutive strikeouts in the sixth.


"Our team could not pull together offensively as we normally do," says Feaster. "Unfortunately, Hempfield did."


The downpour began in the bottom of the seventh, the Pioneers' last opportunity to score, but their opportunity slipped away when a pop-up turned into a double play to end the game.


The Pioneers hope sun returns for the opening round of the District 3 playoffs, which begin on May 24 at Pioneer Field.


"Good teams will bounce back from adversity," says Feaster. "Our plan right now is to do just that as we use this loss as a motivator for districts."

--Benjamin Pontz, LSNews.org Editor-In-Chief

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