Mayer Lutheran ends season in section final

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A great season came to an end in controversial fashion for the Mayer Lutheran softball team, but the Crusaders look to remember the season for how amazing it was, not how it ended.

“I hope that most people don’t just look back and remember the seventh inning, because it was much more than that,” coach Kris Gustin said.

The Crusaders had a good season, made even more spectacular in the postseason as they shutout the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams for 18 consecutive innings. Mayer Lutheran also went to the Section 4A Championship for the first time in program history, just a few years removed from barely being able to field a team due to low turnout.

“I’m very proud of how far we’ve come,” said Gustin.

After downing the No. 1 seed a week prior, the Crusaders headed to the University of Northwestern for a May 31 showdown with No. 2 Kimball Area. Though neither team had played on a turf field before, they played nearly perfect (only one error from Kimball Area).

Also nearly-perfect was Tina Saulsbury. Fresh off of a shutout win over the No. 1 seed, the junior pitcher had a perfect game through six innings.

But in the seventh, a controversial call gave the Cubs their first hit of the game, which led to their second and game-winning hit.

Though the season didn’t end the way the Crusaders wanted, they still showed grit and their true potential in the championship game. Playing on a new surface, they were error-free, and despite losing 1-0, they had more scoring opportunities then their counterparts, putting runners in scoring position in three separate innings.