Column: Final tune up a success despite loss

Published 3:23 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

By Staff
There was no doubt in my mind as I headed over to Brandywine High School Saturday morning that the doubleheader between the Dowagiac softball team and the Lady Bobcats would be intense.
I knew it was going to be a close, hard-fought pair of games, but I had no idea it was going to turn into a very long day.
After all, Saturday's contest pitted two of the better teams in the entire state against each other.
Dowagiac came into the game ranked No. 6 in Division 2. Brandywine entered the doubleheader ranked No. 4 in Division 3.
This game would not be for the faint of heart.
This was going to be a war.
The opening game of the twin bill not only lived up to the hype, but exceeded my expectations and just about everyone elses as well.
No one expected this game to go 15 innings.
The game had a little bit of everything.
There was great pitching from Brandywine's Kelli Zache and Dowagiac's Brittney Reist.
There was good hitting.
There was great defense.
But in the end it was an error that led to Dowagiac's victory.
It was a shame that such a great game had to end on a misque.
But that usually is how it works when two great teams get together.
Someone usually makes a mistake that leads to the other team picking up a victory.
Both coaches got what they wanted out of this game.
No, Brandywine didn't expect to lose, but it wanted to face a tough opponent to prepare for this week's Division 3 district tournament in Berrien Springs.
Dowagiac also wanted to face a strong opponent to prepare for today's match up against St. Joseph in Stevensville at Lakeshore High School.
Both teams played to their potential and that pleased both coaches.
Neither team played particularly well in the second game, also won by Dowagiac.
I have to believe the two squads left everything they had emotionally on the field in that first contest.
Both schools looked flat.
A large crowd was on hand and they were not disappointed by the two teams.
Fans from both schools were pleased with their teams' performance and felt that this type of "playoff" atomosphere was exactly what their team needed heading into the post season.
There was an intensity, an excitement in the air throughout the game.
That excitement has led to a gentleman's agreement to do this again next year.
In fact, Byron Center, which defeated Brandywine in its invitational tournament championship game earlier this month, has talked about joining the Lady Bobcats and Chieftains in a three-way doubleheader next year.