The Northwest softball team went 0-2 against a pair of ranked teams in its own triangular Monday night.
The Vikings lost to Class B No. 2-rated Beatrice 3-2 and No. 5 Hastings 12-4, even though the loss to Beatrice came on a questionable call to end the game.
After being down in game one 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Vikings scraped their first run of the game against Beatrice.
Then with their backs against the wall in the bottom of the seventh, Mackenzie Palu drew a walk to led off the inning followed by a single to left field by Alicyn O’Neill. That got a rally started for the Vikings.
Emily Stein then popped out to third base for the first out before Beatrice struck out Megan Furstenau. With the pressure on, pinch-hitter Joley Langford came to bat and like something out of a storybook -- well almost -- sent a pitch into left field and both runners came in to score. Or did they?
After Palu scored, O’Neill was called out at home on a tag by the catcher Laney Workman.
The ball and tag beat her to the plate, but the questionable part was Workman blocking the plate?
Northwest coach Jake Ritzdorf thought so and argued the call.
The home plate umpire conferred with the other umpire before they then waived her safe. O’Neill’s run would’ve tied the game and kept the Vikings alive.
Then Beatrice coach Gary Lytle gave his side of the story and again the umps conferred, only this time with a different outcome. O’Neill was called out, again.
“They called her safe, then changed it back to out,” Ritzdorf said.
That meant the Lady Orange won the game 3-2.
Northwest didn’t helpits own cause striking out 14 times against ace Addie Barnard.
Emily Stein got the loss for Northwest allowing three runs on five hits while fanning seven.
Game two was Beatrice losing to Hastings 10-6.
The nightcap saw Northwest against the always tough Tigers.
Hastings came out with bats wailing and put up two runs in the first. It helped that Northwest committed two errors in the inning.
Sophie Cervany led off the game reaching on a error by the Northwest shortstop.
Next Samantha Schmidt doubled to right field, and Ritzdorf wanted nothing to do with slugger Ellie McCoy and put her on intentionally.
“She is a tough hitter and we decided to let the girls behind her try to hurt us,” Ritzdorf said.
And they did.
Walking McCoy left the bases loaded for Kaelan Schultz, who reached on an error, the second of the inning, and a run scored.
Stein then struck out Elle Douglas and walked Faith Molina to score another run. Stein did manage to retire the next two batter on a pop out and ground out to get out of the inning only allowing the two runs.
Northwest battled right back in the bottom of the first after the first two batters walked followed by infield single by Skylee Nelson and a single to right field by Palu to plate two runs. The Vikings weren’t done.
O’Neill struck out and Stein reached on an error to plate two more runs against Hastings pitcher Ella Hatch. Hatch then retired the next two batters to get out of the inning having allowed four runs giving Northwest a 4-2 lead going into the second inning.
From there the wheels game off as Hastings scored 10 more runs.
Ritzdorf said the Vikings hurt themselves early and that can’t happen against this team.
“We didn’t play our brand of softball. If you give Hastings four or five outs, they will take advantage of it,” he said referring to the two first inning errors and six walks in the first two innings.
Stein in total walked nine batters in the loss. Hatch got the win for Hastings.
Northwest struck out swinging six times in this game.
Stein was pulled in the fourth for reliever Langford who gave up two of the 12 Tiger runs.
Ritzdorf said the schedule doesn’t get easier for the Vikings as they face ranked Waverly Tuesday and GICC on Thursday. He said although they lost both games Monday night, he is proud of his team.
“These girls lost a close one to Fairbury, and a close one here tonight to Beatrice, and held up against Hastings,” he said.