FC seniors look to lead team on deep postseason run

It gets serious now for the Falls City High softball team, as the Class C, District 1 tournament looms this Thursday and Friday in Syracuse.

The Lady Tigers used some late-inning heroics on the road last night to defeat Plattsmouth, 4-2, after splitting a pair of games last week with St. Joseph LeBlond (MO) and Savannah, MO. They enter the district tournament as the number two seed and a 17-10 record.

Senior Brooke Scheitel drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth on a fly ball to left that was mishandled by the Plattsmouth outfielder. Senior Kirstyn Buchholz came around to score to make it 3-2. Scheitel would score the fourth FC run later in the inning on an RBI by senior Brittany Ritter.

Buchholz earned her 14th victory of the season, tossing all eight innings for FC. She allowed no earned runs and just five hits, while striking out four. The four strikeouts push her single-season record to 127 and counting.  

FC fell to a very good LeBlond team, 11-1, last Tuesday at home, but were 13-4 winners last Monday on the road against Savannah.

In the win over Savannah, senior Kirstyn Buchholz smacked two home runs, drove in seven runs and scored four times, as she finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate. Freshman Tayten O’Brien went 2-3 with three RBIs and junior Sydney Armbruster, who leads the team with a .451 batting average, finished 2-5 with two doubles and three runs scored.

FC, which features eight seniors who have contributed mightily to the program’s success the last 2-3 years, will face 3-16 Johnson Count Central in the first round at 11:45 a.m. Thursday. The leadership from that gang of eight will look to lead FC to their second-ever state tournament. The Lady Tigers are 2-0 this season against JCC.

Wymore Southern, ranked No. 9 by both the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star in last Thursday’s ratings, enters the tournament with a 19-4 record and are the top seed in the tournament. Southern defeated FC 6-2 and 3-1 in their only two meetings this season and ended the Lady Tigers season last year at districts.

Third seed Syracuse (11-10) will face the six seed Conestoga (8-17) at 10 a.m. in Thursday’s first round with the winner playing either FC or JCC. In the top half of the bracket are fourth-seeded Wilber-Clatonia (9-14) and fifth-seeded Freeman (7-16). The winner there will face Southern.

FC head coach Jason Bredemeier is well aware of Southern’s recent success against the orange and black, but said his team is focused on their first round game with JCC. Bredemeier added that he is confident in his team’s chances and thinks the district championship and state tournament berth is as wide open as it has ever been.

“I think every team in our district is capable of beating any of the other teams in our district,” Bredemeier said. “It is that wide open this year. Southern is a very deserving number one seed. Their softball team had always been consistently good over the years, but I knew that their program had finally turned the corner last season when they beat us to end our season in districts.”

Bredemeier pointed to the fact that FC has not reached a district tournament championship since 2006, the year they qualified for state, thus the heavy focus on JCC.  

“We need to focus on one game at a time in order to give ourselves a chance at being successful this postseason. We are not looking ahead to Syracuse or Southern.  We are focused on beating JCC in the first round.

“Our team’s confidence is high. We have beaten five out of the six teams in our district and we played close games with Wymore Southern the two times we played. Every time our team steps out on the field, we expect to win.”

The district championship is scheduled for 3:30 Friday with an extra game, if necessary, set for 5:15.

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