McCOOK — The Gering softball team saw its impressive season come to an end Friday in the second day of the Class B, District 6 Tournament at the Jaycee Complex.
The Bulldogs, who entered districts as the top seed, fell to Cozad 15-1 in an elimination contest.
The Haymakers scored four runs in the first inning and then erupted for six more runs in the second inning to take control of the game. Cozad added its final five runs in the fourth inning.
Cozad finished the game with 14 hits, while Gering had two. Defensive miscues hurt the Bulldogs, who had five errors compared to none for Cozad.
Although Gering couldn’t keep pace with the Haymakers, Bonuchi was pleased with her team’s effort.
“They battled,” she said. “We just ran out of gas.”
Gering opened the tournament Thursday with a heartbreaking 19-18 loss to Lexington. Gering did bounce back later Thursday with a 21-10 victory against Alliance; however, Gering couldn’t muster nearly enough firepower Friday to keep its season alive.
Having several players injured didn’t help the Bulldogs, and neither did coming up short in the opening game against Lexington. Had Gering won that game, Bonuchi said, things might have gone differently for the Bulldogs.
“That kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit,” she said.
Even though the Bulldogs’ season ended earlier than they wanted it to, Bonuchi said her players have a lot to feel proud of this season. In fact, Gering, which finished the season with a 21-7 record, was only one victory shy of tying the school record for most wins in a season.
“Overall, there were a lot of positives in the season and a lot of things that the Gering program hasn’t done for a while,” she said. “One of their goals was to win the Scottsbluff Tournament, and they did that. Also, they had a 12-game winning streak. They were just a great group. We had a lot of fun this season. The biggest thing is that they were fun to be around and fun to coach, and the team chemistry was amazing.
“Yeah, we didn’t end up where we wanted to be at districts, but overall we had a good season.”
Bonuchi said she’s excited about Gering’s outlook. Although the Bulldogs will graduate some key seniors, the Bulldogs have a good group of younger players.
“We have a lot of potential next year,” she said. “We lose a lot with the seniors — it’s sad to see them go — but there were a lot of young kids that really stepped up and blossomed this year, too. That gives us hope and things to grow on for next year.”
In other district tournament results Friday, McCook defeated Lexington 6-4 to reach the championship game. Lexington bounced back in the elimination bracket, defeating Cozad 11-10 to meet McCook again in the title game. The championship contest was played late Friday evening.