What was a frustrating week ended on a positive note for Twin Valley South’s softball team.
After dropping four-straight Cross County Conferenence games, the Panthers closed out the week by sweeping a double-header against New Miami, winning game one 14-4 and taking game two 20-2 on Saturday, April 26.
“What a difference a day makes,” South coach Darcy Robinson said. “We had warm temperatures and a lot of sunshine for this double-header on Saturday.”
Delaney Adams pitched a complete game in the first game of the day.
But the game started much like the previous games during the week.
“We had a dropped thrown ball in the first inning which extended the inning, making it look like it was going to be more of the same (of what we’ve been seeing all season),” Robinson said of falling behind 3-0.
Robinson said her team came back out on defense in the second inning, after scoring four runs and taking the lead, to sit them down in order.
A fielding error in the third inning allowed another unearned run, but then with bases loaded, Adams struck out a batter, and got the final batter of the inning to ground out to the pitcher.
“I thought that was a big turning point in the game, because we retired the last six batters in order.
Sophie Cottingim had a huge game at the plate, going 3-for-3, with a walk added in there, and having 4 RBI. Her game-ending triple drove in the final 3 runs that pushed South to the run-rule win after 5-innings.
In the second game of the day, Ali Robertson went the distance on the mound, allowing 6 hits and did not walk a batter.
“I think that was really big, because it seems that every time our pitchers walk someone or we commit an error, those batters always find a way to score. So not putting runner on, helped our defense settle down and allowed them just to concentrate on getting the batters out,” Robinson said. “To think that we went seven straight innings without an error, was quite an improvement over the past eight games where we often had more errors than hits.”
Robinson said Ashley Robertson had a solid performance in center field, turning a double play, and recording two assists. Jerica Taylor had a big day at first base too.
“Really, all of our defensive players did a nice job today, including Lacey Emrick, who caught both games,” Robinson said.
Offensively, in the second game, the Panthers’ first three batters, Ashley Robertson, Lacey Emrick and Ali Robertson, accounted for 11 runs scored and 10 runs batted in, in just 4 innings.
In the second inning, all nine players scored at least one run.
“So it was great to see the girls relax and just hit the ball. We’ve talked all season how hitting is contagious; not hitting is contagious too. So yes, once we got going and really started hitting and driving in runs, it became really fun. Some of our young players who have never played the game of softball before, finally got a taste of how great this game is,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, we can use this to kick-start this next week of games.”
On Friday, South suffered a 17-1 setback to state-ranked Covington.
“Covington is one of the best teams that we’ll face, and they proved themselves worthy of their state ranking (3rd). We had an extreme amount of errors tonight, but Covington is good at forcing you into making mistakes by their aggressive baserunning,” Robinson said. “As bad as it looked, we had a few players that had really good games, defensively. Sophie Cottingim and Jerica Taylor both had nice games on the right side of the infield, and Ali Robertson did an outstanding job at 3rd.”
Robinson said she is seeing improvement from Emrick behind the plate.
“For two games in a row now, we’ve seen tremendous improvement in Lacey Emrick, behind the plate. We got a chance to practice yesterday, and we worked really hard with her to help her gain some confidence in making throws to each of the bases. It seems to have paid off,” she said.
South continued to struggle offensively.
“At the plate, we didn’t have a lot of hits, but I thought our team went to the plate with confidence against a really good pitcher. I don’t think Covington is used to someone starting the game off with a hit, and we did so, in Ashley Robertson. Several of the players put the ball in play, but with Covington’s solid defense, it was tough trying to find the holes.”
On Wednesday, South suffered a 12-4 loss to Bethel at home.
“Boy, what a frustrating game. We continue to beat ourselves on defense. Most of those unearned runs given up and errors committed came in the first three innings. After we settled in, we actually played even with Bethel. So we know we can play with teams, but we just never seem to give ourselves a fighting chance.”
On Tuesday, South dropped a 16-1 decision at Ansonia.
“This was kind of a repeat from last night. Errors on our part, lots of hitting on Ansonia’s part. One thing that’s been especially disappointing the past two games is our lack of anything going on at the plate, in terms of hits, or stringing together any hits to push runs across the plate,” Robinson said. “That is going to be a huge key to us seeing any success at all. If we don’t hit, we’re not going to win.”
South began the wek with a 13-1 loss to Mississinawa Valley.
“Another tough game, since MV was not that strong of a team. We did only have 4 errors this game, which would normally be a lot, but dropping down from 12 errors in our last game is good,” Robinson said. “The thing is, MV took advantage of every error we had.”
South was scheduled to host Tri-Village on Monday, but the game was postponed until Wednesday, May 7. They were scheuduled to visit Miami East on Tuesday and travel to Newton on Wednesday. The Panther are to visit National Trail on Thursday before hosting Tri-County North on Friday.