The Lady Runners ended their season with two losses to the No. 7 St. Mary’s Rattlers in San Antonio, Texas May 10.
Head Coach Annie Van Wetzinga said, “Obviously any time your season ends it’s disappointing, but the team has nothing to hang their heads about. We had a great season.”
The Lady Runners entered the NCAA tournament with a decisive 2-1 win over Regis, the team that defeated Metro in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship game, on May 8. Metro had only four hits the entire game, two of which came from freshman catcher Sarena Espinoza. In the fifth inning, senior third baseman Mary Towner hit a single that allowed junior right-fielder Lani Redmond to score.
Pitching figured prominently in this game, and sophomore pitcher Cassidy Smith kept the game tied up, allowing no hits for three and a half innings. Espinoza ended the game in the seventh inning when she hit her second double of the day allowing Redmond to score.
Metro continued with a close 6-5 victory over St. Mary’s on May 9. The Rattlers then went on to defeat Regis and set the stage for the final showdown with the Roadrunners.
Metro lost its first game on May 10 with a score of 5-3. The Rattlers scored three times in the fourth inning, one of them unearned, and twice in the fifth. In the seventh inning, senior shortstop Susie Oury provided a glimmer of hope with a three-run homer but it wasn’t enough to bring the Runners back.
In their final game, Metro gained an early lead in the first inning with a two-run home run by Espinoza. The Rattlers quickly evened the score with a run in the first inning and one in the second.
The Rattlers pulled ahead in the fifth inning with an unearned run which changed the momentum completely.
“When you start something with an error against a good team, a walk, or a call doesn’t go your way, you set up their really good hitters,” Van Wetzinga said. “When you go up against good teams, however those things get started, they’re very good at capitalizing.” The Rattlers capitalized by adding five more runs before the end of the fifth. The 6-2 loss ended the season for the Roadrunners.
In Van Wetzinger’s first season as head coach she led the team to its first NCAA tournament win since 2010 and a record of 33-17. A huge improvement over the previous year’s record of 17-28.
There’s a lot of talk about a change in culture since Van Wetzinger’s arrival at Metro.
“I think it all starts with culture,” Van Wetzinger said. “Like any team we talk about and practice physical adjustments but I believe 100 percent that if you don’t have a championship mindset and have really high expectations for yourself, you won’t reach your potential.”
The Lady Runners end the 2014-2015 season with a record of 42-16, the second-most wins in school history.
“Coach Van changed the tone of our team and she got us where we wanted to go,” senior shortstop Susie Oury said.
Seniors Chelsea Brew, Kaylynn Harmon, Britany Thomas, Oury and Towner left their teammates with a mandate. “You guys better be here next year. You better win it. Make us proud. Make the seniors proud. Make coach Van proud.”