M-S softball: Tough season end to Charleston, but future remains bright

MOUNT ZION — The Cinderella run is over for Mahomet-Seymour softball.

The Bulldogs were six outs away from seeing their season end in the regional semifinals against Rantoul, but Ashley Campbell and Kameryn Brotherton came up with huge hits to rally M-S to a 6-5 win.

M-S used that momentum and a long two-run homer by freshman Aubrie Shore to crush a very good Rochester team 9-3 for the regional championship.

But the upstart run ended in a brutal way on May 29, as Charleston exploded past M-S 14-3 in the Class 3A Mount Zion sectional semifinals.

M-S took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Allison Nofziger came home to score on an errant throw by Charleston first baseman Macey McElravy.

But Shore ran into trouble in the third. Charleston's Ramsey Armstrong cranked a two-run homer in the top of the third to break a 1-1 tie, and Charleston never looked back.

The Trojans (31-5) tallied three runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings before erupting for five runs in the sixth and final frame.

At one point in the year, Charleston was the No. 1 team in Class 3A, and Shore struggled to contain Charleston's vaunted lineup. M-S had a rough night defensively with six errors, and Charleston took advantage of the miscues.

"A couple things didn't go our way, and we're a young team and I emphasize mental toughness, but we showed a lack of mental toughness," head coach Lisa Ayers said. "We couldn't get away from that and we needed a couple of our girls to just pick each other up, but we didn't get it tonight."

M-S could muster just three hits off Charleston hurler Emily Price. Shore had two hits, including a two-run base hit in the fifth. Julia McNaught was the only other Bulldog to record a hit.

"We couldn't get much consistency at all, and we couldn't string the hits together at all," Ayers said. "When you don't have that, it really hurts.

"A lot of that spiraled from those mistakes that we had defensively, and we tend to carry it over to the plate. We just have to learn to let those ones go."

It was the third time Charleston had beaten the Bulldogs this season. Charleston advanced to the sectional championship game, while the Bulldogs' season ended at 16-15.

Tuesday marked the final game for seniors Madi Scott and Brotherton. Scott played all over the infield before settling in right field. The senior provided big pop in the lineup.

Brotherton had an outstanding season hitting behind Shore and provided the walk-off game-winner against Rantoul in the regional semifinals.

"Kameryn Brotherton really stepped up, and she was a huge highlight this year," Ayers said. "She came back from being out last year, she had surgery on her shoulder, but stepping up at the cleanup spot, and she had ice in her veins. In clutch moments, she really stepped up. We're going to miss her. Madi Scott just had so many hustle plays. They'll greatly be missed."

It was just the third time since 2008 that M-S softball had finished over .500, and the future is incredibly bright.

Shore finished her freshman season with a school-record 13 home runs, 49 RBI and an outstanding .460 batting average. Shore also had 11 pitching wins.

The Bulldogs will return seven starters in McNaught, Nofziger, Layne Acree, Madison Maring, Ashley Wheeler, Ashley Campbell and Carlee Scott. There are a couple very talented eighth-graders who will likely have a chance to compete for playing time next year, and freshman Emma Clements showed her hitting prowess off the bench this year.

If healthy, Clements could supplant Madi Scott in the outfield next spring.

"They showed great progress and great growth," Ayers said. "It's hard because unless you win state, you're going to end your season with a loss. I wanted them to go back and focus on their game against Rantoul, where they didn't give up, then their game against Rochester and just how they grew from the middle of the season until the end. If we continue to grow, then next year, we're going to be a force to be reckoned with."

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Softball, Sports

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