Sometimes you just need to tip your hat to the opponent.
That was the case for No. 4 Newell-Fonda (36-8 overall) Friday morning.
Unable to contain fifth-ranked Don Bosco, the Mustangs suffered an 11-3 setback in a third-place state softball game on Dodger Diamond at Rogers Sports Complex.
Due to a 90-minute consolation time limit, play was called in the sixth inning.
"I told our team that down the road this (fourth-place effort) will mean a lot more, but that's a pretty tough thing to put in perspective with 14- and 15-year old kids," N-F head coach Dick Jungers said. "If a couple more breaks would've went our way (Thursday in a 1-0 eight-inning semifinal defeat to No. 10 and eventual state runner-up New London), we maybe could've won 2-1 and went on to the championship game.
"It just didn't have the same feel (Friday), but we have to be stronger emotionally and bounce back a little better."
DON BOSCO 11,
NEWELL-FONDA 3 (6 Inn.)
Newell-Fonda 110 010-3 6 4
Don Bosco 105 14x-11 14 2
Renee Maneman (L, 24-5; 3 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), Jordan Wilken (2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and Taylor Lago; Karli Welter (W, 14-6; 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and Cate Paulsen.
2B-N-F: Lago, Andrea Christensen; DB: Morgan Frost, Tori Even, Lexy Logan. HR-DB: Welter, Brittany Hickson (2). SB-N-F: Maneman; CS-DB: Hanna Halverson. MH-N-F: Mackenzie Mandernach (2); DB: Frost (2), Welter (3), Hickson (3), Paulsen (2). RBI-N-F: Lago, Mandernach, Christensen; DB: Welter, Hickson (8), Olivia Schmit, Baylee Rhoads. LOB-N-F 7; DB 8. DP-DB.
Andrea Christensen's RBI double brought home Brianna Wells, staking the Mustangs to an early 2-1 advantage in the top of the second.
All of the momentum eventually shifted back to the Dons (34-9), though, who gained control with a five-spot in the third.
Brittany Hickson delivered the crushing blow with a wind-aided grand slam to center field. Later in the frame, Olivia Schmit produced an insurance score on a RBI single.
"Don Bosco just hit a few more shots than we did," said Jungers, who has directed N-F to seven state appearances since 2005. "At the same time, we still have to hold our heads high.
"We were one of only eight teams (in 1A) to end their season in Fort Dodge. This was another great experience. I couldn't be more happy for our kids."
Mackenzie Mandernach, a sophomore and No. 6 batter, went 2-for-3 at the plate with a RBI for Newell-Fonda, which was unable to overcome four costly defensive miscues.
Taylor Lago doubled and knocked in a run, while Wells and Missy Morenz each added singles. Renee Maneman and Sydney Kay both crossed the dish once.
Maneman (24-5), who took the loss in the circle, also swiped her 79th base of the year in 82 attempts. The speedy junior leadoff hitter actually moved past Lynn Hockett (78 steals in 1991) of Michigan into sole possession of sixth on the all-time national single-season softball list. Jennifer Jorgensen, a former Southeast Webster-Grand star, who was officially inducted into the IGHSAU Hall of Fame here Friday, is fifth with 85.
Hickson, who came in with a .525 batting average, eight longballs and a state-best 70 RBI, finished 3-for-4 with eight RBI - a new all-time tournament single-game mark - and two runs scored. Hickson, a senior second baseman, blasted a no-doubt three-run bomb as well in the fifth.
Karli Welter helped her own cause offensively with three hits, two runs and a RBI, including her third round-tripper of the tournament and sixth of the year. Morgan Frost and Cate Paulsen notched two hits apiece, while Frost scored three times.
Christensen, Lago and Haley Voss all wrapped up their Mustang careers on the diamond. Over the past five summers, Newell-Fonda has posted 162 victories.
"We had a great group of seniors, and my hat's off to them," Jungers said. "Our young kids will have to work hard in the offseason to get back here next year and make some more noise."
Maneman and Wells were each named to the 1A all-tournament squad for the Mustangs, while Welter and Hickson were selected for the Dons. State champion Akron-Westfield's junior ace Kayla Tindall was voted 1A captain.
Jungers, who is now 382-123 through 13 seasons at the helm, previously guided N-F to 1A state gold in 2008 and silver in '06, '09 and '10. He also led the Mustang girls to state runner-up basketball showings in '08 and '13.
Don Bosco, which was making its eighth state appearance in school history, also placed third in 2012. Head coach Jane Becker of the Dons earned her 802nd career win in 27 seasons on Friday.