NORWAY — What an up-and-down Friday for the Ironwood softball team.
The Red Devils started the day with a 3-2 win over Ishpeming in a thrilling MHSAA Division 4 district semifinal. Kaitlyn Tollstam crushed a walk-off hit to score Dani McCullough in the bottom of the seventh, after Ishpeming had just tied the game.
Friday ended with Rapid River blanking Ironwood 10-0 in 5 innings in the district final.
Ironwood’s biggest strength all season has been its hitting, but the Devils snuck past Ishpeming with just two hits. The Devils tallied four hits in the loss to Rapid River, which also beat Ironwood 10-0 last year in the district final.
There’s no shame in losing to Rapid River, a small-school program that’s well-regarded throughout Michigan. But with a nice group of seven seniors, the third-year program’s nucleus, it was tough to take for the Red Devils. And the lack of hitting will be the toughest part of it to figure out.
“Obviously today our hitting wasn’t on,” Ironwood manager Noel Aho said. “I don’t know if we were just playing it a little safe and not taking the chances. It’s hard. We’ve been with these girls since they were 10, so it’s hard to see it end. Last year it was like, ‘OK we’ll get them next year.’ We’ve got the younger girls and they’re excited. But losing the seven seniors, it’s hard to say goodbye.”