Cougars drop an extra inning thriller to Otero as season comes to an end
A record setting season for the Western Nebraska Cougar softball team came to an end Monday night at Volunteer Field in Scottsbluff. The Cougars fell 2-1 in 11 innings to Otero in the third and deciding game of the Region IX Championship Series.
Only one run was put up on the board through the first six innings of the game. The Cougars tallied that in the third inning when Gering sophomore Kayla Romey was hit by a pitch with one out. Bianca Duran followed with a single to right and Kasey Cash loaded the bases when she was also hit by a pitch. Angel Council scored Romey with a sacrifice fly.
That stood up until the top of the seventh inning when Otero tied the score. Veronica Cobos had a one out single, which stopped a streak of 15 straight Otero batters retired by Duran. Then with two outs Cobos was knocked in by Savana King who doubled to left.
The Cougars went down in order in the bottom half of the seventh and off to extra innings the teams went to decide the championship.
Otero had a one out single in the eighth, had a player reach on an error in the ninth and had two runners aboard in the tenth, but could not capitalize on any of the opportunities.
Meanwhile the Cougars had their opportunities as well. In the eighth Jennifer Cottle hit a one out double, but was erased in a double play when Mariah Shepherd followed with a fly out to center and Cottle was cutdown trying to advance to third on the play.
In the ninth inning the Cougars received two-two out bases-on-balls, but Duran flew out to right to end the threat.
Cash was hit by a pitch for the third time in the game to lead off the WNCC 10th, but the Cougars went down in order after that.
Otero finally broke through in the 11th inning when Walker led off with a double. With two outs Emily Bauer delivered the game winning single to score Walker.
The Cougars had one more shot in the bottom of the 11th and came close to tying the game on a long fly ball to right field by Lindsey Shiels-Brophy that was caught on the run at the fence.
Alex Quintana out dueled Duran Monday and in two of the three showdowns between the two and gets her team to the next hurdle, a region playoff game to earn a trip to nationals.
Otero advances with a 53-9 record. The Cougars end their season a record setting 55-10.
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