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Williams: SPASH softball's loss could be blessing in disguise

May 10, 2012
By Todd VanderLoop of SPASH Softball

Williams: SPASH softball's loss could be blessing in disguise Coaches never like to lose.

Stevens Point Area Senior High softball coach Tom Drohner hates it more than most. He is driven to succeed and refuses to accept losing.

With seven WIAA Division 1 state championships in an 11-year span, Drohner has shown he must be doing something right.

So when the Panthers saw their 93-game Wisconsin Valley Conference winning streak halted by Wausau West in a 5-3 loss May 4, he was less than pleased to put it mildly.

It wasn't the loss so much that raised his ire, but the manner in which SPASH played.

It was, to put it in a word -- un-SPASH-like. There were physical errors, poor decisions in the field and an undisciplined approach at the plate.

While Drohner may not agree -- and truthfully the question has yet to be posed to him -- the loss may have been the best thing to happen to SPASH this season.

Before you laugh the notion off as nonsense, check out the reasoning.

Any winning streak, let alone a 93-game run, can place a lot of pressure on anyone, especially a group of high school players.

The bull's eye on their backs could have covered the Great Wall of China at this point, with every Valley team wanting to be the one to end the madness.

After the loss, all the players could finally breathe a huge collective sigh of relief.

Instead of worrying about the streak, they could concentrate on more important matters like winning another Valley title and making another deep run in the playoffs.

And the coaches had all the teaching tools needed to get the attention of the players, while putting the team in the best position to defend its state title.

While making it clear all of those issues against West would be rectified, Drohner offered this cautionary note after the loss.

"No one is going to feel sorry for us, and I get that," he said. "We'll sit back and figure it out. When it's all said and done by the end of the season, no one is going to want to play us."

The Panthers may have already figured it out.

Chippewa Falls arrived at the SPASH Tournament the next day ranked No. 1 in the latest Wissport.net/Fastpitch Chronicle poll for Division 1.

Chi High left with a 10-0 loss in six innings at the hands of the Panthers, who also sent No. 13 Homestead home with a 6-3 loss.

SPASH just might look at the loss to West as a blessing when the season is done.

Scott Williams writes for the Stevens Point Journal. He can be reached at
715-344-6100, ext. 2282, or at scott.williams@cwnews.net.

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