A lot's lost in a loss.
The Sioux Central softball team posted a 28-win season. It placed second in the Northwest Conference. Freshman pitcher Brooke Scharn bagged 27 wins of her own.
The Rebels' list of accomplishments goes on, even if those feats were forgotten following a 7-4 setback to Fort Dodge St. Edmond in Tuesday's sweltering 2A Region 2 district final at Pocahontas Area High.
Indeed, the entire Sioux Central community suffered a far greater loss Saturday when Michael Britton, who would have been a senior this fall, died in a car accident near Peterson.
But if the Rebels learned anything since, this much about Tuesday night's contest was not lost on them: it's just a game.
Sioux Central, sporting black and white wristbands bearing Britton's initials and baseball jersey number, took the field just hours after his funeral.
"It was different because he was really close to all of us," said Scharn, "and we just fought through it and came together as a team and were there for each other."
Rebels coach Dave Riley called the last few days "an emotional train wreck."
"It's just been unbelievable - unbelievable. We had a practice Sunday night. It was the first time the girls had gotten together since the accident," he said. "We just tried to get their lives back to normal a little bit. I basically told them, 'it's time to take him out of your mind and put him in your heart for about an hour and a half.' After the funeral, they were down more than they were yesterday.
"They played a great game for what they went through today. We went to the viewing last night and visitation after (Monday's win over Eagle Grove), and the funeral this morning."
Scharn kept the Gaels in check through the first four innings. St. Edmond went up 1-0 in the bottom of four when Rachel Coppinger hit a grounder and Jordan Florey scored on the ensuing throwing error.
The Rebels unraveled with five errors in the fifth, in which the Gaels and ace pitcher Rose Crimmins went up 5-1. Sioux Central made seven errors on the night and doled out six unearned runs.
A Beth Ehlers RBI double to left-center made it 5-1 in the sixth before the Gaels put up two more runs in the bottom half of the frame to go up 7-1.
Sioux Central rallied in the seventh - thanks to a two-run double from Scharn and a one-run chop single up the middle from Ehlers - before falling three runs short.
"We had one inning where everything just kind of fell apart. I think our hopes kind of went down a little bit. And they finally got things back in order again, and they came out in the seventh inning and got a hit, and it picks everyone back up again," Riley said.
Scharn, Tricia Hogrefe and Ehlers all went 2-for-4 for Sioux Central, while Cassie Moens was 2-for-3. Scharn and Ehlers both had two RBIs for the Rebels, who stranded five runners in scoring position.
St. Edmond had five hits off Scharn, who gave up one earned run while fanning two and walking two.
Cremmins - the Gaels' only senior besides catcher Kasey Kutz - allowed four runs and 10 hits while walking two and striking out three.
"Rose really can take control of situations. Our infield is so young and inexperienced, but she just goes out and takes control," St. Edmond coach Jana Grandgeorge said. "We also knew we needed to go out and hit the ball hard and put the pressure on them. That's kind of been our thing this year: We'ver really played solid defense, knowing that sometime in the game our offense is going to explode."
The Gaels improved to 30-10 and will play Manson-Northwest Webster Saturday at Battle Creek at 7 p.m. in the Region 2 semifinal.
The Rebels, who closed 28-9 with Scharn going 27-9, project to be a top-tier Northwest Conference finisher along with Newell-Fonda and Alta in 2008.
"If we keep working hard, we'll be decent," Scharn said.
Left fielder Hogrefe, shortstop Briana Scharn, DH Courtney Smith and catcher Ehlers have played their final game.
"You can never replace those players," Riley said. "But it's looking good with our pitching situation and we've got our JV players working pretty well, so we'll try to reload."