The Dublin Coffman High School softball team had as many errors -- five -- as it did hits during a 10-2 loss to Hilliard Darby in a Division I district final May 20 at Pickerington Central.
But afterward, senior center-fielder Kats Mockler didn't make any excuses.
"They're faster, stronger and they're just the better team," Mockler said. "We made some mistakes, but I don't know if any of those plays really made much of a difference. They ripped the ball no matter where (senior pitcher Madison Hedderly) put it, and there were times when we couldn't get them out."
The Panthers improved to 19-8 and will play in a regional semifinal today at Ohio State against Pickerington Central. Coffman finished 13-15.
Sophomore third baseman Cassi Ladina hit a home run to put Coffman ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning, but Darby scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning and two more in the second to make it 6-1.
Kellie Roudabush gave up an RBI-single to Mockler and then shut down Coffman the rest of the way, finishing with seven strikeouts and giving up five hits.
"They had more talent to us, but they didn't have a bigger heart because we had to work harder to get this far," Hedderly said.
The Shamrocks finished seventh at 5-9 in the OCC-Central Division behind Upper Arlington (13-1), Darby (11-3), Thomas Worthington (7-7), Westland (7-7), Hilliard Davidson (6-8) and Central Crossing (5-8),and ahead Worthington Kilbourne (1-12).
They opened the district tournament May 11 at home with a 1-0 victory over Delaware as Hedderly pitched a two-hitter and drove in Ladina with a single.
Coffman upset fourth-seeded Pickerington North 4-3 in the second round May 13 at North as Hedderly threw a four-hitter and hit the winning solo home run in the top of the sixth inning.
The Shamrocks beat Thomas 5-3 in a district semifinal May 18 at Pickerington Central as Hedderly pitched a complete game and hit another winning solo home run in the top of the sixth inning.
"Beating Pickerington North and Thomas Worthington in the tournament was the highlight of our season," Hedderly said. "Hitting home runs in clutch situations in those games is something special that I'll never forget."
Coffman will lose four senior starters in shortstop Morgan Hall, second baseman Allison Rubin, Hedderly and Mockler. Hedderly, who was first-team all-district and all-league, went 12-13 with a 1.64 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 175 innings.
Hall batted .368 with 15 runs and Hedderly batted .269 with three home runs, eight RBI and 10 runs. Hall was second-team all-league.
Potential returnees who started multiple games are junior Anna Holliday (C) and sophomores Stacy Axner (RF), Kimmi Bussell (1B), Meghan Glynn (2B), Ladina and Rachel DeRosa (LF).
Ladina, who was honorable mention all-league, batted .351 with 11 RBI and 14 runs. Bussell batted .267 with six doubles and seven RBI.
"I'm so proud of these kids because they never got discouraged or gave up when we struggled," coach Kevin Finan said. "We're going to miss all of our seniors, and Madison obviously will be a big loss. But we've got a nice sophomore pitcher, Linda Cardozo, who can hit her spots, and we've got a lot of kids coming back with varsity experience, so our future looks promising."
Coffman's Cassi Ladina (left) is hugged by Courtney Colles on May 20 after a 10-2 loss to Hilliard Darby in a district final.
At a glance
•Record: 13-15 overall, 5-9 (seventh) in the OCC-Central
•Seniors lost: Morgan Hall, Madison Hedderly, Kats Mockler and Allison Rubin
•Key returnees: Kimmi Bussell, Anna Holliday and Cassi Ladina
Coffman's Morgan Hall can't get the tag down in time May 20 as Hilliard Darby's Alivia Nikolaus safely slides into third base.