A late rally was thwarted, but the Monroe City softball team is confident a successful season is coming after a loss to Columbia Hickman.

MONROE CITY, Mo. — The deficit was too much to make up in the seventh inning.

The Monroe City softball team trailed 5-0 going into the final half inning, and got one run across before leaving the bases loaded in a 5-1 loss to Columbia Hickman Wednesday night.

It was the Panthers’ best inning of the game, but came too late.

“I think our energy was just better that last inning,” junior Riley Quinn said. “We were really up in the dugout, and I think if we had that throughout the game we would have been more successful.”

However, Monroe City is confident despite the loss. The Panthers figure the Kewpies will be one of the strongest teams they face all the season, and competing with them could mean a successful season.

“They did exactly what they had to do tonight,” Monroe City coach Melissa Chinn said. “They fought and they fought hard. They should know what they’re capable of doing after battling a team like this.”

A couple of miscues earlier in the game proved costly.

The Kewpies struck in the top of the first inning when a flyball to shallow center field popped out of center fielder Carly Youngblood’s glove as she attempted a diving catch, and Zoe Derboven scored on the play.

In the fifth, Abby Hurtado smacked a solo home run to left, which made it 2-0.

Madison Moss came into pitch and walked the first batter she faced. Hickman followed with three straight singles — the final two drove in runs — two make it a 5-0 game.

“I probably had a coaching error or two in the game,” Chinn said. “I probably made a change when I shouldn’t have.”

Monroe City (1-1), however, didn’t go quietly in the seventh.

Quinn led off and hit a sharp line drive into right that got past the fielder for a three-base error. Emily Friedank followed with a walk before Danielle Pfanner hit an infield RBI single, which made it 5-1. After a strikeout, Madelyn Meyer hit an infield single to load the bases with the top of the order coming.

Hatred, however, struck out Lauren Youngblood and Moss was called out at first on a grounder that ended the threat.

Monroe City had just five hits as Pfanner had the lone RBI. Hurtado threw all seven innings, striking out 10 while walking three.

Kailynn Fuemmeler threw 4 2/3 innings for Monroe City, allowing one run on four hits.

“The fact we were able to hit a pitcher like that says a lot about our team,” Quinn said. “Our conference has good pitchers, so if we can hit off (Hurtado) that gives us a lot of confidence.”