They would be the No. 1 seed in the postseason tournament. The entire tournament was scheduled to be played at Westminster’s Jaycees Field on June 2.
And while Eyler had warned his players that everybody was trying to knock them off, he expected his girls to win the tournament nevertheless.
“The girls were prepared,” he said. “I told them they’d worked hard and that they deserved to win. The tournament was theirs to lose. That was my speech to them.”
The Cougars opened with a 21-0 romp over the Aces, a team they had already beaten four times this year. Maddie Hott, Maddie Smith, and Emma Lemmerman were each 3-for-3. Megan Beares and Madison Hockenberry both went 2-for-2. Hockenberry also scored two runs.
Catcher Kimberly Lapiderio, one of the two new players, played well defensively, was 2-for-3 and drove in two.
Left fielder Cat Zaepfel was 2-for-2 with two RBI. Zaepfel, who was the team’s MVP for the year, batted .825 for the season, hit four home runs and drove in 42 runs.
In Game 2, the Cougars faced the pesky Hawks who had authored their only loss back in May. This time though, it was a vastly different story; the Cougars won 13-3.
The winners left little doubt in this one; they scored eight runs in the second inning to pull ahead 11-2. The first eight girls who batted in that inning scored runs, and the team played errorless ball in the rout.
Winning pitcher Morgan Click “pitched a phenomenal game,” Eyler said.
Click, Taylor Wood, and Mary Zaepfel were each 2-for-2 in the game. Outfielder Kayla Snyder was 1-for-2, scored two runs and drove in another. The Hawks, who the Cougars had expected to play in the final, were knocked out by the Marlins in their meeting.
While having all high school players gave his team an advantage over the other squads which rostered eighth-graders, Eyler was very pleased with their performance. He also appreciated the dedication which accounted for his having a number of older players who had stayed with the Cougars for a number of seasons.
“They keep having fun and want to come back year after year after year,” Eyler said. “As a coach, that makes you feel good.”
There is also a good chance he will contend again next year; only three or four players age out, Eyler said.
So he and assistant coaches Rob Smith, Mark Click, John Lemmerman and Mike Blaney could be celebrating again this time next year.