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G-K softball comes up short in semifinal

May 25, 2012
Genoa-Kingston High School

Genoa-Kingston’s Danielle Engel reacts after hitting a line drive for the Cogs’ final out in a Class 2A Genoa-Kingston Sectional semifinal Wednesday in Genoa. The Cogs lost to North Boone, 3-1. (Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
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GENOA – Rhealene Cleveland took off from third base, but the Genoa-Kingston senior didn’t have the chance to make it home.

G-K had runners on second and third and trailed by two to North Boone in the bottom of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Class 2A Genoa-Kingston Sectional semifinal. Danielle Engel laced a ball down the third-base line when North Boone third baseman Breanna Schaedel made a diving catch to end the game and G-K’s season in a 3-1 North Boone victory.

“If that ball had been down, we would have tied it up, maybe have won,” Cleveland said.

Instead, G-K (19-13) had to look back at a game in which the Cogs didn’t feel like themselves against North Boone starting pitcher Madison Schuster.

Schuster stayed outside the strike zone for the majority of her complete-game victory, but managed seven strikeouts and three walks while the Cogs swung at most of her offerings.

“We had a stretch of two weeks where that was a problem and we talked about it in the middle of the season,” G-K coach Mike Lauer said. “We talked about only hitting your pitch, and we’ve been doing that lately, really nicely, and I don’t know why today we were awful anxious and, boy, we swung at some tough pitches to hit that obviously helped her big time.”

Cleveland had the team’s lone RBI, on a single that scored Tori Hensley in the seventh. G-K stranded two runners at third in the game. Paige Keegan hit a triple in the first and Natalie Klein added one in the fifth, but the Cogs couldn’t bring either home.

Cleveland said a boisterous North Boone bench had an effect on G-K’s approach against Schuster.

“I think we’re not used to other teams that are really loud, so I think everybody was getting anxious and we were getting angry that we just wanted to smash the ball and we were just getting too excited about it,” Cleveland said.

North Boone (12-19) scored all three of its runs in the fourth off Engel. Schaedel’s two-RBI triple did the biggest damage, but two G-K errors kept the North Boone inning alive and led to the Vikings’ third run.

Lauer said the message to his young G-K team afterward was to remind the Cogs of what they had accomplished this season, including their first regional title since 2008. It was a message that resonated with Cleveland.

“It did mean a lot to all of us, because we were iffy throughout the season, just kind of back and forth with our energy,” Cleveland said. “It meant a lot coming this far.”

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