Wildcat softball team finding scoring runs challenging
De Soto's late-inning collapse in the nightcap of Thursday's doubleheader against Prairie View mirrored an early season formula that Wildcats coaches and players would like to change.
The De Soto softball team seems to shoot itself in the foot at the most inopportune times.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Wildcats were down by one run and had a chance to end a two-game losing skid.
Instead, the Wildcats gave up a one out walk, back-to-back singles, a two-base error and a double in successive at bats before getting the last two batters out. They also gave up three runs in the inning and trailed 5-1.
"We tend to kill ourselves," De Soto softball coach Kelly Dennis said. "We haven't given up a lot of earned runs so far this year. We just give them up."
As bad as the defense was, De Soto's bats were just as much to blame for the third-straight Wildcats loss. In seven innings and 28 at bats, the Wildcats offense managed just five hits, six strikeouts and a single run.
"We can't get anything going on the base pads either," Dennis said. "I don't mind the strike outs so much, as long as they're being aggressive at the plate."
Leslie Elmer scored De Soto's only run in the second inning -- giving De Soto a 1-0 advantage -- after she was awarded with a one out walk. A double by starting pitcher Lauren Burford sent Elmer to third base before Kat Huffman sacrificed the first baseman home for the early lead.
The Buffalos answered with two runs of their own in the third inning on two singles and a base on balls, claiming a 2-1 advantage. Following the three-run fifth inning, Prairie View added an insurance run in the sixth inning when their left fielder reached base safely on a fielder's choice and scored on a De Soto error.
As ugly as the second game was, De Soto's performance in the opening game 10-0 loss was even worse. The Wildcats gave up just four hits in the opening game but committed eight errors in the contest.
The Buffalos scored in every inning but really opened it up in the fourth and final inning. Prairie View tallied two runs in the first inning, one each in the second and third innings and six in the fourth.
Kira Gonzalez was the only Wildcats player fortunate to get a hit in the opener when she led off the second inning with a single.
The Wildcats placed two batters on the base pads with no outs in the inning. But the threat ended when Lindsay Williams and Elmer both struck out on back-to-back at bats and Gonzalez was thrown out trying to get to third.
From the third inning on, De Soto's lineup went down in order. The game ended early because of the 10-run rule.
Meagan Bliss started the first game on the mound and gave up eight runs on just two hits. She dished out five walks but wasn't helped by her team's eight errors in the contest.
Jessica Pennington relieved Bliss in the fifth inning and gave up two more scores. Pennington was credited with a strike out and a base on balls in just one inning on the mound.
Burford gave up nine hits and walked two batters on her way to giving up six runs in a six inning complete game in the nightcap. Burford also struck out a batter.
"We just made poor decisions and didn't field the ball well," Dennis said. "You can't win by getting just one hit. And you can't walk six batters."
Although she was obviously frustrated with her teams 1-3 start to the season, Dennis took time to put it all in perspective.
"We're only four games into the season," the coach said. "Hopefully, we'll get it all cleaned up."
The Wildcats fell to Ottawa and the Cyclones ace pitcher Megan Ramsey 5-0 in the opener of a doubleheader in De Soto Tuesday. The Wildcats were tied with the Cyclones, 3-3, when the second game was called because of darkness. It wasn't known as of press time whether the second contest would be made up.
Despite going up against the always-tough Ramsey, Kira Gonzalez led the Wildcats by going 2-for-3 from the plate in the first game. The sophomore pounded a home run out of the ballpark when she pulled a Ramsey pitch down the left field line. On the night, Gonzalez was 4-for-7.
Jessica Pennington had a single, and pitched in her first varsity game. Pennington struck out five batters, walked one and gave up six hits.
In the second game, Kayla Bader, Kelsey Lawson and Pennington each had a hit. Lawson's was a triple.
De Soto plays at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Gardner-Edgerton.