The West Central Area softball team would soon like to forget Tuesday night’s Section 6A semifinal game against New York Mills.
At a neutral site in Minnewaska, the Knights fell 13-0 in six innings – giving up nine unearned runs.
“We aren’t going to win games against teams like this if we play like we did in the field tonight,” WCA head coach Bill Aufdenkamp said. “We stuck with them in the beginning there. Just wasn’t our day.”
The New York Mills Eagles (21-2) are the defending state champions in Class A and they haven’t skipped a beat from last season. After crossing two runners home in the top of the third, Grace Christenson and Annika Frost each drove in two runs with singles in a six-run fourth inning. The Eagles added five more in the top of the sixth to send the Knights home an inning early via the 10-run rule.
“They’re a great team,” Aufdenkamp said. “We can’t make mistakes against them. They’re so good on the bases. They’re a really tough team to beat.”
It’s not the end of the road for WCA. The Knights’ playoff run continues on Thursday. The Frazee Hornets fought their way through the elimination side of the bracket – beating Upsala (14-10) 10-4 to earn a spot in the second semifinal game against WCA. As Aufdenkamp stands in the coaches box on the third base line, he will see some familiar faces in the opposing dugout.
“I coached in Frazee for 16 years,” he said. “I was the head coach there my finals two years. The assistants there are the same assistants that were there when I left in 2016.”
Frazee is 17-8 and earned the third seed in the north subsection. WCA, the two-seed in the South, suffered just their fourth loss of the season on Tuesday and snapped an eight-game winning streak. WCA is 18-4 and did not have a matchup with the Hornets this season.
“We know it doesn’t get any easier,” Aufdenkamp said. “They’re a good team and they’re going to give us a good game. Hopefully we end up playing three games on Thursday.”
WCA takes on Frazee at 1 p.m. in Minnewaska. The winner will face the tall task of having to beat New York Mills twice if they want to advance to the state tournament.
‘“I believe we can beat these teams,” Aufdenkamp said. “We just have to forget about today, come back and play on Thursday.”