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Kirsten Ellis scores Man’s only run in a 1-0 win over Sherman in sectional action on June 4.

SETH — “I kind of thought that one run might win it either way.”

Head coach Randy Epperly of Man said what was on plenty of minds deep into the Friday evening bout between the top-seeded Sherman High School Lady Tide and the No. 2 Man High School Lady Hillbillies. The Class A Section 4 Region 1 contest lived up to the hype.

Early into the ball game, it became clear that neither team would give up a run easily, and even hits proved to be difficult to come by. Sophomore pitchers represented their respective teams well, with Chloe Treadway on the mound for Sherman and Morgan Cooper throwing for Man.

Neither team could clinch a run for the majority of the contest, with even hits being difficult to come by with the strength of both pitching and fielding. It was at the top of the seventh inning where Man junior shortstop Kirsten Ellis’s triple was followed by a passed ball, which led to the Lady Billies’ one run that evening. It would also be the sole run of the game, giving Man the victory they needed to emerge victorious in the winners’ bracket of sectionals.

Coach Epperly said that sending the runner on from third in the seventh was a chance taken, but he was pleased that it ultimately paid off. Man has succeeded in handling a comparatively small roster over the course of the 2020-21 season, and younger players have been an important part of this success.

“We don’t give up on each other,” says Epperly. “This is one of my better teams as far as camaraderie goes.”

The girls’ ability to stay in the game and play to their strengths has paid off in tough duels such as this game. Epperly said he has great respect for both the Lady Tide and head coach Jim Henderson, and noted that taking on the No. 1 seed was always going to be a challenge.

Henderson’s views on the game were in agreement with Epperly’s, expressing that it would have been tough for either team to lose this matchup. Defensively, Sherman played well over the course of most of the evening. However, Morgan Cooper’s 10 strikeouts on the Lady Tide’s offense made things hard for the home team. On top of this, he says that batting — especially with runners on base — must improve in these scenarios. It comes down to decision-making at the plate.

Sherman (12-4) was set to play No. 4 Buffalo (5-9-1) at home on Monday. The winner of this game would take on Man (15-2) on Tuesday and once more Wednesday (in the case of a Tide victory Tuesday) for the chance to win the section.

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