Solid pitching not enough for Cats
So far this season, Emily Baker has had to shoulder much of the pitching duties for De Soto. But help may soon be on the way.
Allie Heinen started the second game of a doubleheader against Bonner Springs Tuesday, and showed signs of giving coach Kelly Dennis two starting pitchers she will be able to rely on for the remainder of the season.
The junior Heinen walked just one batter and gave up two runs, one of which was earned, and fanned three batters through five innings.
"That's definitely a positive for us," Dennis said of Heinen's performance. "She threw strikes and kept the game moving. We hope she'll build on that."
It is especially critical for the Wildcats to get pitching help at this time in the season since they will be playing two double headers a week from here on out.
Though Heinen and Baker kept the Wildcats in both games early, De Soto lost the twin bill by 7-2 and 8-1 scores.
Too many walks and errors were the driving force in the losses as the Wildcats dropped to 3-5 after starting the season 3-0.
"We were winning both games at one point," Dennis recalled. "You just can't walk people and give up errors like we are. I know we are playing tougher teams than we started off with. But it doesn't matter who is hitting the ball, it's still just the same ball. That's where we're struggling."
In each game, a big inning opened the game up for Bonner Springs.
The Wildcats were trailing just 4-2 after three-and-a-half innings in the first game when Bonner Springs erupted for three runs in the fourth. De Soto committed three errors in the inning.
The Wildcats trailed by a 2-1 margin going into the bottom of the fifth inning in the nightcap when Bonner Springs blew the game open with four runs off of a walk, three hits and an error.
"We're not capable of scoring a lot of runs right now," Dennis said. "If we're going to score just two runs a game we can't have the errors and walks. We're not good enough to overcome big innings by our opponents."
Offensively, De Soto pounded out three hits in the first game and seven in the nightcap.
Three Wildcats had hits in game one. Baker, Heinen and Leslie Elmer each went 1-for-3 in the opener.
Freshman Carrie Buser led the Wildcat offense in the second game by going 2-for-3 from the plate. Heinen, Jara Mori, Jennifer Davis and Maggie Saylors each added a hit in three tries for De Soto., while Katie Davis was good for a hit in four at bats.
De Soto has a doubleheader against Santa Fe Trail starting at 4:30 Thursday at De Soto. They then travel to Perry-Lecompton Tuesday for a twin bill beginning at 4:30 p.m.