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DISTRICT SOFTBALL: Flat Rock, Huron fall in districts

The Flat Rock softball team knew getting past Airport in districts would be a tough task, but that did not stop the Rams from giving a strong effort on Monday afternoon in Milan.

Despite the effort, a few defensive struggles and leaving bases loaded twice were too much for the Rams to overcome and they saw their season end in an 11-2 loss to Huron League rival, Airport.

“We didn’t come through big time with the bats,” Coach Steve Przybylo said. “(We had) bases loaded twice (and) couldn’t take advantage of that.

“And then just a little bit of sloppy defense at critical times really hurt.”

Flat Rock took the first lead of the game but soon fell behind and things went downhill as Airport went on to blast three out-of-the-park home runs.

The Rams took the first lead of the game when Breanna Keethler hit an RBI single to plate Talia Gibson but the Jets took off in the second, scoring six runs, including two out-of-the-park home runs.

In the top of the fourth and fifth innings the Rams found themselves in bases loaded situations but could not capitalize and turn things around.

Airport added three more in the bottom of the fourth and two in the bottom of the fifth but a nice defensive double-play stopped the Jets from getting a mercy-win.

In a last effort, do-or-die seventh inning, Keethler and RaeAnn Highers singled but the next three batters were shut down and the game, and Flat Rock’s season was over.

Despite the loss, the Rams had much to be proud of on the day. They almost didn’t make it into the finals.

An amazing come-from-behind rally against Milan secured their spot and wowed the crowd.

Flat Rock got down early but a mind-boggling fifth inning saw Morgan Kaiser bat three times and the Rams hung on for the 16-9 win.

Heading into the fifth inning, the Rams were down 8-3. But a batter hit by the ball, two walks, two doubles, an amazing 11 singles and five bases-loaded situations gave them a 16-8 lead.

Kaiser (two), Gibson, Highers, Sam Dymon (two), Haley Boyer, Ally Bryant (two), Keethler and Stephanie Tylicki all singled in the inning.

Keethler had a two RBI double and Highers brought one in on her double. Tylicki and Boyer were walked and Carol Ostrowski got on base after being hit by the pitch.

Milan had a pitching change at the end of the inning and shut down the Rams in the bottom of the sixth, while adding a run of their own but Flat Rock held on for the win and advanced to the finals.

Earlier in the game Milan had a 3-0 lead going in to the bottom of the third but Gibson helped herself out to tie things up.

Kaiser had singled to plate Hannah Myre and Gibson blasted a double to deep center, bringing in Ostrowski and Kaiser to tie things up.

They lost the lead when the Big Reds added two in the fourth and three in the fifth before their stellar fifth inning.

“I got pretty dang nervous,” Przybylo said. “It wasn’t looking good there for a little bit.

“But I know it’s in them. They’ve just gotta come through. They clearly can do it. They know it’s never over. Last year we just came back from so many games. All through most of our ones in the league and through districts and regionals, we’d get down and we never stopped fighting.”

Przybylo said that’s the positive attitude is one of the great things about his girls.

“That’s one good thing,” he said. “They look like they’re down (but) it’s still in them.

“They’re definitely a positive group of girls.”

As their season ended, the Rams will now say goodbye to six seniors, five of whom were four-year starters.

Przybylo said it will definitely be a big loss but next season won be a huge rebuilding year for the Rams who have a strong group coming back.

“I don’t really see us hurting,” Przybylo said. “Losing Haley (Boyer) is gonna be one of my biggest shoes to fill. “That’s gonna be really my biggest loss. Outfield will be my big spots to fill.

“It’s not a total rebuild, but definitely will not be like it’s been in the past. I’ve been blessed for a few years having those girls. They’ve just been awesome.”

In the early semi-final, Huron saw their season end with a 5-0 loss to Airport.

Things stayed pretty even through the first three innings and Huron tried to pull ahead but left Savannah Floyd stranded on third.

The Jets took their lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth and added three in the fifth and one in the sixth to secure their victory.

Once Airport took its lead, the Chiefs had a hard time getting back into things and saw three consecutive batters go down in fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Despite the loss, Coach Heather Holshoe was pleased with the way her team improved off of their earlier meetings with the Jets.

Earlier this season the Chiefs dropped an 18-0 and a 15-3 game to their rival but Holshoe stressed to her team to believe in themselves heading into districts.

“I’ve got such a young team,” she said. “I know Airport does as well, but just to overcome the mental things. We can put the bat on the ball.

“They’re just a strong team top to bottom so it was really good to come out here today, believe in ourselves (and) have some really good defensive innings and stay in the ball game to give ourselves a little bit of a chance.”

The Chiefs graduate three seniors this year and could return 12 of their current 15 players next season.

Holshoe seems confident looking ahead to the future.

“We’re looking hopefully to come back better, stronger, fasters. That’s the goal.”

Airport will take on Riverview in the first round of regionals on Saturday.

Last Updated: 6/3/2013 10:22:47 PM EST

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