MS Softball Tussles with a Tough Rival

Middle school softball hit off their season with their first home game against Fountain Hills.


Eighth grader Malia Knight prepares to swing.

Reese Bennett, Columnist

The winter sports for Horizon Honors have begun, and the MS Softball just hit off a well-anticipated season with their first home game. The game, versus Fountain Hills, took place on Wednesday, Nov. 28, and was well-fought, all the way to the end. The skies were overcast and gray as the game started, the Fountain Hills Falcons going up to bat first. The MS Horizon Eagles took to their defensive positions feeling “a little nervous, but mostly excited because [they] finally got to play with the team,” according to Malia Knight, eighth grader. The Eagles knew they were up against a difficult team. Sarah Munsell, eighth grader, commented, “[Fountain Hills] has been a tough opponent for a long time. You don’t know how they’re going to play.”

Lucy Holweger, seventh grader, delivered powerful pitches to start off the game, which resulted in three strikes out in the first five minutes. The Falcons manage to score one run before getting three strikes out, with eighth grader Brianna Reinheart, the Eagles catcher, making good stops and Holweger pitching phenomenally. The Horizon Eagles then stepped up to bat. The Eagles and bleacher bystanders continuously cheered on their batter in anticipation, although the Falcons got two more runs in a couple of innings. A Falcon batter then came to the batting box to swing. Holweger pitched to her, and she got one strike. Then, a crack of the bat sounded and the softball is up in the air. The Falcons had just hit a pop-fly. Knight went to catch the pop-fly and nearly dropped it, but just managed to catch the ball before it hit the ground, winning an out for the Eagles. She was “very relieved because [the ball] was super high, and happy that [she] contributed to the team.”

However, things weren’t looking too swell for the team afterwards, with the score being 4-1. One base was occupied, and Holweger wasup to bat. There was tension in the home-supporting sides of the bleachers, and it went quiet. Holweger squared up to bat in the dusty batter’s box and the Falcon pitcher wound up to pitch the ball fast in Holweger’s direction. Thankfully, yet another crack sounded in the air, and Holweger and another Eagle went sprinting across the bases towards home. Both made it, Holweger running all three bases in one go. The score raised to 4-3, and after a good hit by Jessica Leake, eighth grader, Reinheart found a way to advance to first base. She did a smooth slide to second base to avoid getting out. Finally, she made it to home and tied the score 4-4. A few more innings, and Horizon had two bases loaded and ready to head home. Holweger and then Leake pitched for the rest of the game. The Eagles were hoping to raise their score and take the game, but the Falcons scored five more runs, ending the game with a score of 9-4.

Although the team lost, they put up an incredible fight, and are positive that the next game will go better. Some girls shared what they did best, and it all differed depending on position. Covering first base, fielding, and pitching and hitting were some things that Munsell, Knight, and Holweger stated they did well on, in that respective order. Softball coach David Dinardo also remarked on the game, saying, “it was exciting to see [the team] play based on what we’ve done at practice. Fountain Hills is a good first opponent for the girls, and it’s the first time they’ve all played together.” He thought the girls did “really well, especially for their first game together with new seventh graders. A few errors were made, but we overall did really good.”

The MS Horizon Honors Eagles put up a persistent fight against a skilled team and had a final score of 9-4. Hopefully, next game will brighten up for them, and they’ll experience their first victory of the season. Go support the softball games if you have the time and give them encouragement. Go Eagles!