Bearcats' record-setting season ends at state
     2011-10-20      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Spectrum Photo: Scottsbluff's Kelsey Albright aims for a pop fly during early season play for the Bearcats. The Bearcats make a history-making trip to state as the school's first softball team to earn the titile of 
The Scottsbluff Bearcats' fist trip to the Class B state softball tournament was short-lived last Wednesday, but the Bearcats left Hastings and coach Kendall Vogel with some encouragement despite suffering a pair of shutout losses.

After falling to second-seeded Wayne 8-0 in its opener, Scottsbluff (26-7) battled sixth-seeded Ralston closer but let the only runs in the 2-0 loss score on what Vogel called a "bang-bang" play at first base in the second inning.

"It was close, it would have been the third out and their runners (from second and third) just kept on going," Vogel said.

Senior Maci Stouffer scattered seven hits with eight strikeouts with two walks in the Bearcats' season finale. She and classmate Cheryl Salazar both were 1-for-3 with a single each for Scottsbluff's two hits.

"Maci pitched great in the second game," Vogel said of his ace, who finished the season with a 19-8 record after the two losses. "We just don't see that kind of (opposing) pitching consistently. We started to adjust to it later in the games, but it was too late."

Scottsbluff was held to just two hits against Wayne, which led 7-0 after two innings and ended the game in the fourth inning with one more run. Stouffer and Salazar were 1-for-2, again with a single apiece.

"We got our jitters over with from the first game, and I told the girls between games to be relaxed and I thought they competed better in the second game," said Vogel, who was unable to coach the Bearcats during the postseason after a sanction imposed on the program by the Nebraska School Activities Association. "I was proud how they came back and competed better."

The Bearcats finished one win shy of their school record of 27 victories (against 10 losses, a .730 winning percentage) from 2010 but tallied a winning percentage of .743, with the total record for the past two seasons at 53-19 (.736).

Stouffer and senior Maddie Holscher enter the Bearcat record books tied for the most home runs in a season with eight apiece.

"I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of girls this season," Vogel said. "They competed really well and played hard from Day 1, they overcame a lot of adversity and just a great group of kids who worked hard."

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