The members of the Pitman High softball team held their heads high on Monday afternoon.
The Pride, who had just come off back-to-back postseason wins for the first time in school history, lost two straight contests after falling to Vacaville, 8-3, on Saturday followed by an elimination loss to River City, 19-4, on Monday afternoon in their final game of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I Section tournament.
Despite a loss, the Pride's 22-win season marks the most wins by any Pitman softball team since the school's first season in 2005.
“I get teary because I am proud of what these girls accomplished this year,” said Pitman assistant head coach Greg Mettler.
This year also marks the official retirement of coach Mettler from high school coaching.
“I will still coach travel ball because I really enjoy the sport so much... I love it but these girls played so hard this year,” Mettler said.
The final two playoff games were the first time this season that the Pride lost back-to-back games, proving their durability and consistency all year long.
“The depth we had this year is rare to see and its gonna be cool to see those three freshmen that were up develop as the years go on,” said Mettler.
Monday's game was a win or go home contest with six of the team's seven seniors out of the lineup due to the senior trip. The Pride were forced to move up five junior varsity players and started four of them in different positions.
To make matters even more difficult, starter Lexi Mettler, who chose to continue competing with her team instead of going on the senior trip, began experiencing back spasms before the start of the fourth inning and so she was soon benched, leaving a herd of underclassmen on the diamond.
River City had no problem jumping out atop after a 3-1 lead in the first and they sailed away with the game after scoring 16 runs by the sixth.
“...the girls never gave up and kept working hard under an extremely tough situation,” said Mettler.
The only offense for the Pride came from an RBI single from Mettler in the third, and in the fourth Claire Fountain drove in Taylor Honnette for the second run.
Starr Russo knocked in Fountain for the third run, and in the sixth inning Honnette scored the team's final run after an Alanah Lapua RBI sac-fly.
“I was impressed with how well the girls played and they put in some hard work,” said Mettler. “They did a bit of everything this year, never a one-trick pony, we won in every way imaginable and it shows the characters that these girls had. I am blessed to be able to be part of this team.”