KENT: Once an athletic season ends, players and coaches begin to reflect.

For Our Lady of the Elms (19-6), the 2012 softball team will be remembered for unprecedented accomplishments.

The journey ended Saturday afternoon with a 6-0 loss to Vienna Mathews (24-5) in the Division IV regional final at the Diamond at Dix at Kent State University.

After the game, Panthers coach Frank Voss pointed out to the players that they had gone where no Elms team had ventured before.

“Elms was established in 1923 and in 89 years this is the farthest any team has come. They have to be proud of what they accomplished,” Voss said. “That is a long history to get to where we were today.”

Kaitlin Morse, the senior catcher who had one of the two hits by the Panthers along with two walks in three plate appearances, understood and appreciated what has been accomplished this season.

“It means the world. In 89 years, it is the first time it has happened, and I am proud to be one of them [the players],” Morse said.

The Mustangs “can hit one through nine and their pitcher is good. I wish them the best of luck, because we lost to a good team,” Morse said.

The defeat was twofold. The Panthers simply were overmatched by Mustangs pitcher Cheyenne Eggens and five errors were too many to overcome.

Eggens, a freshman, was unhittable at times, striking out 16 and walking three while giving up two hits.

“She is a good pitcher and she has a good future ahead of her,” Voss said of Eggens.

The Mustangs started fast, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Tabby Grannelly smashed a double deep down the left-field line and scored two batters later, when Jacki Rhine doubled down the left-field line.

A three-run second inning by the Mustangs was fueled by three errors, two on a sacrifice bunt by Maddy Nicula that allowed Hollie Shreves and Maddie Williams to score for a 3-0 lead. Nicula, who went to third on the play, scored despite poor base running when Grannelly popped a bunt to Panthers pitcher Emily Scupholm. Scupholm’s throw to double off Grannelly was wide of third and it was 4-0.

“We did not execute on the plays we had executed on all year,” Voss said. “I really don’t think they were all that nervous. We got in this game by winning a no-hitter; maybe it was the softball gods trying to equal things out.”

The Panthers twice had two runners on base. In the fourth inning, Taylor Schmidt hit a slow roller to short that was ruled a single. It would have loaded the bases, but Morse ran into shortstop Jessica Marsico trying to field the ball and was called for interference to end the rally.

Scupholm walked and Morse singled with one out in the sixth. They moved to second and third on Lauren Schaeffer’s sacrifice bunt, but Eggens stranded them by getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Morse said it was hard to see the season end, but it could have been worse.

“It would have been worse if it had been closer. It would have hurt more,” Morse said.

Voss said the Panthers’ first trip to the regional in school history was a combination of things.

“It is leadership and talent. It is the climate of the school that has changed. It is the direction we are trying to go,” Voss said of softball and other athletic teams at Elms. “I don’t think this year will be the exception.”

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