Believing in a program’s system or philosophy can do wonders for the respective team, and that just so happens to be the case through the postseason thus far for the Mercy softball team. The Jaguars stunned the third ranked Holy Cross Cougars 6-4 in the sixth region semifinals on Memorial Day at Ulmer Stadium.
“It’s mostly about belief”, Mercy head coach Greg Meiners explained. “Everyone is pulling for each other and we had some clutch hits and runs.”
The victory avenged a 6-0 loss to Holy Cross back on April 30th and it could not have come at a better time. “We went over their hitters pretty good”, Meiners said, “they’ve got a lot of good players.”
Holy Cross struck first in the second inning with Kaylee Whitted’s homerun hitting the flagpole beyond the fence out in left field. Mercy would almost instantly strike back as Ryan Ann Hobbs hit a ball into no man’s land, scoring Ryann Berger.
Whitted would give the Cougars the lead once again, driving in two more runs on a single in the fourth. However, that lead would be lost for good in the fifth. Maddy Johnson and Kayla Bauer drove in two runs a piece to give Mercy the first lead of the game.
“I was really nervous”, Bauer explained about her go-ahead two-RBI single, “the one thing I was looking for was just to hit the ball.”
Despite Amber Kaufman making things interesting by blasting a homerun to pull within one, Mercy would prevail.
Holy Cross ends the historic season with a 34-3 record and will graduate a decorated senior class that won four All “A” state titles and one sixth region title.
Hobbs, Johnson, Bauer, and Mackenzie Newton all recorded RBIs in the semifinal match. “Once we get on a roll, everyone just feeds off of each other”, Johnson said. “The only thing we could do was believe in ourselves. We have to keep the same energy (at all times).”
For Meiners, all of the credit is to the players. “There’s no substitute for senior leadership”, he explained. “We know we’re not at the top of the pecking order, but all we’ve got to do is try to win one game at a time. I knew my kids were confident that they could come out and compete.”
Mercy will advance to their third consecutive regional final on Tuesday evening, which just so happens to be a rematch of last year’s final against Butler. The storylines are there, but Meiners is confident in his group and their experience and maturity gained from previous regional finals.