LAKEVILLE — Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to South Bend Saint Joseph in a Class 3A softball regional signaled the end of the 2014 season for Western — and the end of a terrific run for a six-deep senior class that is dear to the school’s heart.
The Panthers’ senior class had a hand in two sectional titles and one regional title on the diamond and Western skipper Jim Clouse was quick to point out their success in other arenas, including for some, a pair of regional titles and a state championship in basketball.
And, in Clouse’s mind, that didn’t begin to touch on the quality ambassadors they’ve been for Western schools and the Russiaville community. And even so, he was comfortable with calling them one of, if not the, most successful class in school history.
“You couldn’t ask for better kids to go out with,” Clouse said. “They’ve done so much, and I feel for them at this point. The game — I know we’re going to talk about it, but to me it’s more about those kids, and where we’re going to be at mentally with them. It’s a tough night for them.”
With the way the Panthers (20-7) started offensively, it didn’t appear, at least early, that the seniors were in danger of playing in their final game.
Western pushed across its pair of runs in the opening frame on three hits and a trio of St. Joseph errors. Evie Glover led off with a double to the right-center gap and scored on a Brooke Strunk sacrifice bunt attempt when the Indians committed a pair of throwing errors.
Abby Renken followed with a single, and Strunk scored on Kiersten Durbin’s RBI single up the middle off Indians’ starter Anna Irons.