Fort Calhoun sophomore softball player Maddie Reed lowered her bat and executed the perfect bunt.

Kennedy Bradburn ran in from third base and scored the Pioneers' fourth run of the fourth inning, extending Saturday's Blair Invite consolation bracket game against Omaha Mercy. Had the senior's team not scored those runs, the game would have been over by run rule.

“We're trying to take advantage of those momentum changes. and getting the girls to recognize when we're being successful and building on that,” FCHS coach Ginger Appel noted.

The Pioneers lost their game to Mercy 17-5, and its tournament opener 15-0 to Fremont, but the 0-7 team got plenty of time to work on its game at the Blair Youth Softball Complex.

“The thing that I love about this group is that they're all willing to jump in where we want them to,” Appel said of Fort Calhoun's early-season defensive strategy, which is to find the right combination that will cut down on errors.

Offensively, the Pioneers' five runs against Mercy were just one shy of a season high. In addition to Reed's RBI bunt, Morgan Therkildsen, Kennedy Bradburn and Kinsley Wimer knocked in runs. Therkildsen also notched a double against the Monarchs.

“We stayed in the game,” Appel said. “Hopefully, they realize that was definitely a big moment for us to build off of.”

FCHS drops game in Valparaiso

Wimer notched a double and scored on Lucy Hubbard's RBI swing Tuesday in Valparaiso.

Despite their efforts, the Pioneers fell to 0-8 overall with a loss to Raymond Central.

Bradburn and Wimer combined for three strikeouts in the pitching circle, but the Mustangs scored seven runs in the second inning and four in the third for a three-inning victory.

At one point during the second inning, Fort Calhoun led 1-0 before the home team took control.

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