Blue River closes softball season
Blue River softball was defeated by Fairbury 12-2 during the district tournament on Oct. 4 in David City marking the official end of the season for the Panthers, who finished the season 9-18.
Blue River opened with a loss to No. 8 Crete, stayed alive in the losers bracket with an 11-6 victory over Aurora then saw the season came to an end in the loss to Fairbury.
“Just knowing who was in our district, what a buzzsaw of a district it was with five teams that were pretty highly ranked,” coach Greg Jahde said. “I kind of knew our chances of doing extremely well were very slim, so just kind of looking at the way the bracket set up we were hoping that we could pick up a win in the tournament and finish with a fifth-place finish.
“I thought that was probably about as well as we were going to be able to do. Overall, fairly happy I guess.”
In the game against Aurora, Blue River used a five-run second inning and a six-run seventh inning to get the victory.
In the first game of the tournament, Blue River was defeated by Crete 13-1.
Jahde said the season went somewhat as expected.
“I would say we finished about where I thought we would,” he said. “I thought possibly we could squeeze out double-digit wins, maybe 10-12 wins. We had a couple of triangulars that were rained out that I think we definitely could have picked up one or two more wins along the way in those.
“I guess ultimately we finished about where I thought we would, considering the schedule that we do play. We play a tough schedule.”
As Jahde looks back on this season, the Blue River coach says he’ll remember the uniqueness of the players individually and the team collectively.
“The team in general kind of talked about that the day before we went and played districts,” he said. “They asked me what I was going to remember, and I basically just said the uniqueness that each girl provided for the team.
“There wasn’t a girl that was the same, and yet every girl brought something positive to the table. I think that’s probably what I’ll remember the most was just their positivity, and what each girl was able to bring on a daily basis. Even though the record wasn’t great, they were a fun team to work with and be around.”
Blue River will return many of the same players next year and hope to improve on what they did this year.
“We lose four girls, four seniors,” Jadhe said. “They were big pieces, but we also have a nice nucleus coming back next year with some younger girls that I thought were developing in the JV ranks and getting some valuable at bats here and there in the varsity level.
“I think we’ll be able to piece something together next year that will be pretty competitive. We got both of our pitchers back. Next year we’ll have a lot of seniors on the team, so that will be big for those seniors to kind of put things together and hopefully have a good season.”
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net