continued Solvay left 10 runners on base in the first six innings, including two each in the first, third and fifth frames, and stranded bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. All it could get was a pair of runs, one from Molly McGuire’s RBi single in the second and another from a Windsor error in the fifth that allowed Nicole Antonacci to trot home.
Merrill lamented the missed opportunities by a team that scored in double figures 13 out 20 time before tonight, and twice scored 30 or more runs.
“Some of the innings we left baserunners on I think could have been different,” Merrill said. “We might have put them to sleep a little sooner than the sixth, (then) they might not have had as much life in the seventh.”
But in the end the result came down to defensive miscues by a Solvay team that surrendered four unearned runs all year.
“It’s almost a blessing and a curse when you go 20-0,” Merrill said. “As you go along and the innings get later you get closer to that peak you’re reaching for. You don’t want to say the kids were nervous. They were feeling good the whole game. I think some of those things might have come to a head.”
Though the Bearcats’ season ended earlier than they had intended, Merrill wasn’t going to downplay their first sectional title since 2007.
“I thought we had one more rally in us, but the kids played hard all year," he said. "They’re a great bunch of kids.”
And they should be far from done. Julie Gardner and Shanen Sullivan depart, but the likes of Cimini, DiBello, Antonacci, McGuire, Jackie Gardner, Chelsie Delperuto and Brenna Poli return in 2014 with much more than a sectional championship in mind, especially considering the painful way this season ended.