HASTINGS, Neb. -- The McCook High School girls softball team came very close to pulling off a big upset at the Hastings Invitational Sept. 15.
The Bison lost to Top 10-ranked Seward, 3-1, in opening-round action at the Bill Smith Complex in Hastings. McCook battled back to claim fifth place in the eight-team field with wins over Holdrege and Centennial.
Bison head coach Jason Cochran knows his team had a great chance to pull off a huge win.
"Seward is one of the top teams in the state and we competed with them," Cochran said. "We had a chance to win -- we just couldn't get in the runs when we needed to. That's kind of the way the games go sometimes.
"We played well. We really started striking the ball after the first game, put up some pretty good numbers. Once we got rolling, it went pretty well."
Cochran said his team gave Seward a couple of runs in the opener.
McCook opened with a run in the top of the first, but Seward came back and tied the score in the bottom of the frame. The Bluejays scored a run in the second and one more in the fifth, and McCook could not get another run across home plate.
McCook had just two hits in the contest.
Alli Sheets pitched all six innings for the Bison, giving up just three hits with three strikeouts.
In the consolation semifinals, McCook downed Holdrege, 9-3, in six innings.
The Bison tallied four runs bottom of the first frame, then added a run in the third. Holdrege came back with three runs in the top of the fourth, but McCook answered with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. The Bison added single runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to help ice the victory.
McCook out-hit the Dusters, 13-7. Madison Chitwood had a big bat with two hits and 5 RBI. Becca Sehnert collected three hits and Brittany Broomfield added two hits for the winners.
Maddie Elder went the distance pitching against Holdrege, recording six strikeouts.
In the fifth-place final, McCook exploded at the plate in a 15-3, six-inning romp past Centennial.
The Bison collected 13 hits, while pitcher Courtney Bradley held Centennial to just one hit while registering 9 strikeouts.
Megan Ruppert drove in five runs to lead McCook, with Brittany Broomfield and Madison Chitwood each collecting two hits. Nichelle Funk also had 3 RBI for the Bison.
McCook led 3-2 after three innings, then the Bison exploded for five runs top of the fourth, plus two more in the fifth then five more runs sixth. Centennial scored one more run in the bottom of the fifth.
Top-ranked Omaha Skutt beat Lincoln Pius X, 7-4, in the tournament title game.
THE BISON teams face a busy week. The Bison varsity and junior varsity teams will each play a double-header against host North Platte Tuesday, Sept. 18, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Dowhower Softball Complex on the north side of North Platte.
The McCook varsity travels to Ogallala Thursday, Sept. 20, to face Chase County and Gering. McCook will also face three tough Class A squads Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Lincoln Invitational.