Coming off a perfect 36-0 season last year, the Papillion-La Vista Monarchs varsity softball squad has begun their 2021-22 season 2-2 after having to replace 10 seniors.
Not only did they lose 10 seniors, but one of them was the national Gatorade softball player of the year in Jordyn Bahl. The fantastic two-way player for the Monarchs went on to play for the University of Oklahoma after absolutely dominating the Nebraska softball scene for four years.
Papillion-La Vista’s season opener was on the road against Millard North last Thursday, Aug. 19, in an entertaining 17-11 win. The Monarchs were first on the board with four runs in the first inning and never looked back as Emmie Willis, Eden Ford and Kaylee Pinneo combined for nine RBIs on seven hits.
The Monarchs then competed in this year’s Bellevue East varsity and junior varsity softball invitational that began last Saturday, Aug. 21, due to rain on Friday. Game one of the tournament featured a matchup with Lincoln North Star and resulted in a 12-2 Monarch win. Carly Bertolini pitched a complete game for Papio as this time it was Haley Wilwerding leading the way at the plate with four RBIs on two hits.
After the 2-0 start behind big bats, the Monarchs were looking like they would pick up right where they left off last season despite losing almost half their roster but game two of the tourney against Bennington would provide their first loss in over a year. Up 4-2 in the top of the third, Bennington rallied behind a three-run shot in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-4 lead and eventually the win. Alex Stoner had three RBIs against the Badgers.
Papio’s third and final game of the invite came via rematch against Millard North last Saturday afternoon. The Monarchs were once again first on the board with three runs in the first but a seven-run third inning for Millard North would catapult the Mustangs to victory. The Monarchs offense seemingly disappeared over lunch as they managed only four hits against Millard North.
Now sitting with a 2-2 record, head coach Todd Petersen and company will get a couple days break before hosting Class B powerhouse Omaha Skutt on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Following Tuesday’s game, the Monarchs will be taking advantage of a six-day break before their next contest against Omaha Central on Monday, Aug 30.