Column: Tough finish to a great year

Published 5:35 am Wednesday, June 15, 2005

By Staff
ALLENDALE - No one expected what happened here Tuesday afternoon.
Dowagiac appeared to be working its way out of a bases loaded jam with no outs.
All it needed was one more out to force the Division 2 state quarterfinal contest into a 10th inning.
Then, as if lightning had struck out of a clear blue sky the game was over.
How cruel were these softball gods anyway?
To end one of the greatest seasons in Dowagiac softball history so quickly, so painfully.
Tears were flowing from the faces of the players on the field before they had even reached the dugout.
Tears were flowing outside the fenced in field as well.
No one had expected this.
Dowagiac has spent an entire season beating back scoring chances in close games.
Heck, the Chieftains had averted elimination in the district finals against defending state champion Lakeshore with a runner at third and less than two outs.
This was not a problem.
Maybe it was the law of averages that finally caught up with the Chieftains at Grand Valley State University.
Perhaps their luck had just run out.
Whatever the case, it was a sad way to end a great season.
You had to feel for this team which had finally snapped the Lakeshore hex after 11 years.
This was supposed to be a team of destiny.
I don't know how many times over the last decade I had heard someone way "if we could only get by Lakeshore we had a chance."
They were right. Dowagiac had a chance. The Chieftains were in a position to run the table in the state tournament.
But it was not meant to be I guess.
So many in the large crowd gathered on Tuesday were making plans for Battle Creek this weekend.
And as the game wore on they knew that their team would find a way to beat the state's top-ranked squad and advance to the semifinals for only the second time in school history.
In the end however, it was the Lady Golden Hawks who found a way to punch their ticket to the Final Four.
Although you might not like to hear this, perhaps it was Wyoming Rogers which was the team of destiny.
After all, the Lady Golden Hawks were the ones with the broken heart last year when it lost to eventual state champion Lakeshore in the quarterfinals, 1-0.
Dowagiac will be back. I have no doubt about that. The cupboard is hardly bare. This team knows how to win and I think they will get another shot in 2006.