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June 18, 2024 June 18, 2024

Season ends for Pride with playoff loss to Hawks

Posted on June 7, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Garrett Simmons
Sunny South News

The high school baseball season is over for the Kate Andrews Pride.

The Coaldale team’s season came to an end June 1 after a 15-7 loss to the Medicine Hat High School Hawks.

“The boys had a little trouble leading up to the playoffs but we knew what we were capable of, and how to do it,” said Coach Dan Griffith of his team’s recent slate of games, which started May 23 against Medicine Hat’s McCoy Colts.

“We took a 1-1 ball game into the seventh and gave up four runs to McCoy in the top of seven. We came up strong and equaled the score in the bottom of seven with the go ahead on base, but were not able to cash that run in. We went to extras and didn’t take care of the ball in the eighth.”

McCoy scored seven in the top of eighth and Kate Andrews could not respond any for the comeback and fell 12-5.

May 25 the Pride had a doubleheader, ran into available arm trouble and ended up with losses to the Medicine Hat Hawks (1601) and the Catholic Central Cougars (11-4).

“I don’t think we were really in either of the games but used the games as learning opportunities,” said Griffith. “We didn’t get down on ourselves about those games and losses.”

In the quarter final against Catholic Central, both teams were playing exceptionally well, according to the coach.

“Both teams had bases loaded on several occasions but were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position. The score was 0-0 until the bottom of four when CCH opened the scoring 1-0.”

In the top of sixth, Kate Andrews was able to string together two hits after an error and score a couple runs to go up 2-1. CCH tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on an error and the teams headed to the seventh tied at two.

Pride leadoff hitter Kade Hamilton drew a one out, hit by pitch, advanced to second on a stolen base, and scored the go ahead on a warning track rope double by Oden Kashman. CCH had two runners on in the bottom of seven with two out, but were unable to tie the game, as Kate Andrews won the playoff contest 3-2.

Conner Wittebolle’s last start in his senior year was beyond stellar, according to Griffith, as he went five innings plus, and kept CCH at bay for most of the game. Ethan Honess came in to close the game in the sixth and got the win.

May 26 Kate Andrews headed to the higher seeded Medicine Hat High to play the semifinal game.

“They cleaned up during the regular season going 8-0 with what I would call, little opposition,” said Griffith. “They are a very senior heavy team with eight on the roster, and their strength and experience really showed.”

The Pride fell 15-7 in the game, to close out the season.

“Obviously, we knew that we would have to bring our best game in order to advance to the league final. As the visiting team we were first on the bats and struck early for two runs in the top of one. They came back with three in the bottom of one, and we put up two more, and chased their starter in the top of two for a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of two.”

Medicine Hat eventually overcame the Pride defence and collected a total of 12 hits and scored on a few Kate Andrews errors for 15 runs.

“We ended with a season high 10 hits for seven runs against a very strong Hat High pitching core,” said Griffith. “MHHS head coach Cam Rittinger summed it up after the game by saying they didn’t take care of the ball in the first three innings, and we didn’t take care of the ball in the last three innings and that was the difference in the game.”

The coach added it was an up-and-down season for his club, with more ups than downs.

“Of course, by not winning the championship we did fall short of the ultimate goal, but looking back, I think our successes outweighed our failures,” he said. “We had games where we faced adversity and came out on top, and others where the adversity did us in. All in all, a fantastic season of baseball and there is little I would change.”

Griffith added Kate Andrews will miss some seniors next year, as Conner Wittebolle, Brett Hudey, J.T. Toker and Michael Smesman played virtually everywhere on the field for the Pride this year, according to the coach.

“That being said, the opportunity exists for our younger core to step up and lead,” he said. “We will have Ethan Honess and Oden Kashman back as seniors to lead us, and roles to be filled by some second year Grade 10 students, Kade Hamilton and Grady Knoblich. There is always the opportunity for others to step up to be the leaders that we need on the diamond and at the school.”

The coach touted his team’s attitude that they brought to the diamond every day.

“Those that came to practice wanting to get better, got better. I have to mention my one Grade 9 player, Josh Nihill. He came to every possible event and showed so much improvement. I expect that Josh will be competing for a starters spot next year and if I could bottle his enthusiasm and effort I wouldn’t need to work full time that’s for sure.”

Next year, Griffith wants to focus more on what can be done – the makeable plays.

“Doing a job at the plate and picking up signs a little better on the bases. And then taking care of the baseball by limiting the errors and hitting our cuts. It’s a long laundry list of things to do, but not out of the realm of things that can’t be done. Given the opportunity, I am sure we will have the ability to improve on this years’ successes.

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