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END OF AN ERA: St. Anthony softball falls to Auburn in super-sectionals to end stellar four-year career

May 28—DECATUR, Ill. — Sometimes you run into a team that has the pitching to neutralize an elite offense and the offense to cause problems.

That was what the St. Anthony softball team ran into Monday in the Bulldogs' 12-2 loss to Auburn in the Class 2A Decatur (Millikin) Super-Sectional.

The Trojans pounded 16 hits and Meana Taylor was excellent in the circle against a St. Anthony lineup that had been embarrassing its competition for most of the season.

"It's been a great run these past four years with them," an emotional Makayla Taylor said after the loss. "Obviously, we didn't come out on top today; just weren't playing our game."

Adysen Rios started the game with a base hit.

Addie Wernsing then popped out to the third baseman, who then fired the ball to first for the double play after Rios got back to the base late.

Hailey Niebrugge followed with a single but was then immediately tagged out after turning too far in front of the base and not getting back in time to beat the tag.

An uncharacteristic first inning carried over into the bottom half of the frame when Auburn scored four runs.

Addison Jones started with a walk. Taylor Patterson then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Taylor drove in Jones on a single up the middle.

Piper Taylor followed with a walk and Addison Whatley hit a double, plating courtesy runner Fayth Millwee to increase the lead to 2-0.

Mailee Schoen then struck out. Skylar Meats was then hit by a pitch and two runners scored on a single from Izzy Schroeder-Carlisle.

The inning finally ended for the Bulldogs when Sydney Rabideau grounded out to third.

Meana Taylor continued to cause problems, though.

Abbi Hatton started the top of the second with a fly out to left. Sydney Kibler then hit a single before Maddie Kibler popped out to second and Stacie Vonderheide grounded out to short.

The Trojans tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second.

Jones started with a single and later scored after an RBI double from Patterson.

Meana Taylor was then hit by a pitch. Piper Taylor then grounded into a fielder's choice and Whatley struck out. Schoen then hit a two-run single, making it 6-0, and Meats followed with an RBI single to make it 7-0.

Meana Taylor struck out Laney Coffin to start the third. Julia Schultz was then hit by a pitch before Adysen Rios grounded into a double play, ending the inning.

Rabideau opened the bottom of the third with a single but was tagged out after trying to stretch the single into a double. Jones then struck out and Patterson popped out to first, retiring the side.

The Bulldogs would finally get on the board in the top of the fourth. Wernsing and Niebrugge both popped out before Hatton hit a double and Sydney Kibler launched a two-run home run to right field, giving the team some hope.

"I think we're a team that always has a little fight in us," Taylor said. "We're always finding ways to put numbers on the board."

The Trojans answered that with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to all but ice the game.

For good measure, Whatley hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 10-2 and Schoen and Meats scored after an error to end the game by way of the mercy rule.

"I thought we had a little too much energy," Taylor said. "The kind that was using momentum for their team and finding ways to score. We just weren't playing our game."

Sydney Kibler struggled to find her groove all day.

She only lasted one inning and allowed five hits, seven runs and two walks to one strikeout. Wernsing relieved her in the second and yielded 11 hits and five runs (three earned) with five strikeouts.

"We weren't hitting all of our spots today," Taylor said. "That resulted in having to actually throw a strike right down the middle and they took advantage of that; found the mistake."

St. Anthony loses a wealth of production off the team heading into the 2025 season.

All seven seniors had a hand in 101 wins, four regionals, three sectionals, two super-sectionals, a second-place finish and a third-place finish in four years.

"I coached all these girls in junior high, so we kind of had an idea," Taylor said. "They've had a fantastic career."