On Monday, May 13, Lincolnwood Softball Coach Greg Neisler was faced with a decision that no coach ever wants to have to make.
Neisler's Lady Lancers were scheduled to take on Edinburg on Monday in the opening game of the Pawnee Regional, with the winner moving on to play Windsor/Stew-Stras, the top Class 1A team in the state.
But there was more on the minds of the players and coaches than softball on Monday. Just four days earlier, a car accident had claimed the life of Lincolnwood senior Austin Krager, whose sister Cassie is a starter for the Lady Lancers.
Lincolnwood was scheduled to play both Friday and Saturday after Krager's accident, but cancelled those games due to the tragedy. On Monday, Neisler met with his team to see where they would go from there.
"There are some things that aren't negotiable, but this is not one of those," Neisler said. "I wanted to put it up to the team and they said they just weren't ready to play."
With the team's input, Neisler decided to forfeit Monday's game, a decision that he called one of the hardest of his coaching career, but one that was supported by Lincolnwood Superintendent Aaron Hopper.
"Ultimately, we had to make a decision based on people, not on sports," Neisler said.
The Lady Lancers finished the season with a record of 8-18.