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Redbirds fall to Fennimore
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Darlington's Abby Schulte gets tagged out at third base in the Redbirds' 14-2 loss to Fennimore on Tuesday. Darlington will play No. 1 seed Lancaster on Thursday.
DARLINGTON - The Darlington softball team must have a short memory after Tuesday's 14-2 loss to Fennimore to close out the regular season.

That's because the Redbirds are gearing up to play No. 1 seed Lancaster in the WIAA Division 3 regional Thursday.

"It will be tough," Darlington coach Rebecca Norgard said. "I'm hoping we can hit a little better. I knew they (Fennimore) would hit the ball. I was hoping we would, too."

Fennimore's Taylor Fitzgerald smoked a two-run double to left in the first inning to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

Darlington (3-15, 0-14 SWAL) answered in the bottom of the first. Abby Schulte reached on an error leading off and Kari Blosch bunted for a single down the third-base line. Courtney McBee, who was 2-for-3, reached on an error, which scored the Redbirds' first run. Darlington senior Allison Taylor singled to load the bases. Katie Wiederholt then delivered a game-tying RBI single to center.

After the first inning it all unraveled for the Redbirds. Darlington managed just three hits and had just two base runners in scoring position after the first.

"If we would have had a few more hits, I think the momentum would have kept us going," Norgard said. "Without those hits, it's hard to battle back."

The Redbirds committed four errors and had three base runners thrown out at third.

"We haven't had many errors all year," Norgard said. "It's something I didn't like to see. It was kind of surprising."

On the mound, Taylor was tagged for five runs in the second. Fennimore's Kristen Oechsle singled. Kaitlin Klug hit a grounder to shortstop Katie Martin, who flipped to Blosch at second. But Oechsle beat the force out, which opened the door to a big inning. Amber Reynolds (2-for-3) followed with a two-run double and Becca McBee came through with an RBI single to give the Eagles a 5-2 lead. Becca McBee finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored.

Taylor pitched four innings and gave up eight runs on seven hits. Darlington junior Cassy Steiner pitched one inning and Fennimore scored six runs in the fifth as the Eagles batted around the order. Steiner walked four and hit one in the fifth. The big blow came on Reynolds' two-run single to left, which gave her four RBI in the game and gave the Eagles an 11-2 lead.