Monarchs finish historic softball season
The Aquinas softball season ended with a 1-2 showing in the district tournament held in Wahoo. The Monarchs were relegated to the losers bracket in their first game Oct. 4 in a 9-6 loss to Malcolm, stayed alive with a 9-5 win over Wahoo later that afternoon then saw the 2018 campaign end with a 15-8 defeat to Raymond Central on Friday morning.
“It went pretty well,” head coach Paul Gahan said of the district tournament. “My girls played good softball. We struggled defensively our first game against Malcolm – our mistakes allowed too many runs. It’s a game we probably should have won. We just had too many errors that led to probably five of their runs.
“I was really pleased with the effort, they played hard. That district was extremely competitive. I think it had five of the top 11 teams in the power points, which seems a little ridiculous that one district should have that many good teams.”
It was the offensive performance that was most impressive during the district tournament.
“Our bats were hot really the whole tournament,” Gahan said. “We scored a lot of runs every game. We had a key home run that gave us some extra cushion by Sierra Meysenburg.”
This is the best season Aquinas has had since the birth of the program – something that Gahan said was somewhat of a surprise.
“Our team far, far exceeded my expectations going into the season,” he said. “We won more games than we ever had in the history of our program. We’ve had softball for nine years, and I’ve been with the program from the beginning. We were 22-10, that’s the best record we’ve ever had in softball, and 22 wins is the most wins we’ve ever had in a season. It was a great season.”
Out of everything that happened this season, Gahan said it will be the bond between his team that he will remember the most.
“I think the camaraderie that our girls had with each other,” he said of his favorite part of the group. “We had 19 girls on the team, and you have a lot of personalities, not everything is perfect. These girls that I coached really truly care about each other. That’s something that a coach really appreciates.
“They played hard for each other and for the coaches. Before the district tournament, we were the first team there, and our girls were listening to music, they’re all dancing with each other just having a good time.”
This marked the last season for six Aquinas seniors, and Gahan said that the rest of the team will need to step up next year.
“We lose another pitcher and we lose a lot of productivity on offense. Next year, numbers-wise, I think we’ll be in good shape. We should be about 17 girls next year,” Gahan said. “I’ll need girls to step up into varsity roles next year that haven’t played varsity before.
“It’s going to be kind of a rebuilding year, so to speak, but I look to the girls to respond and step up into those positions and hopefully see a lot of improvement from the start of the season to the end of the season. I look at it as these are opportunities for girls to compete and get varsity playing time.”
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net