May 08, 2019The Crawford County softball team sputtered both with the bats and on the field last Tuesday, losing 4-0 at Paoli. Things went bad for the Lady Pack from the start, and they never were able to recover.
"It's a little frustrating because we're not hitting the ball real well, but we've had a lot of games this season that have been exactly like tonight," Crawford County coach Kim Allen said. "We're not getting beat by a lot of runs. We're giving up a lot of our runs in the first inning and then we're just not hitting the ball after that."
Crawford County managed just three batters in its first at-bat, with Maddie Sargent, Autumn Kerce and Cheyenne Pierpoint all hitting to Paoli second baseman Payton Ashley.
"The very first three were right to her, and they were good, solid hits, but they were right to her," Allen said.
The Lady Rams then put their first run on the board in the bottom of the inning. Lexie Stroud and Kinsey McBride reached following back-to-back Crawford County errors. Kinley Book hit into a fielder's choice, with McBride being forced out. Laykin Busick grounded out to Kerce at first but got an RBI when Stroud scored, giving Paoli a 1-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the second inning, as Paoli left two runners on in the bottom half. After Crawford County went scoreless in the top of the third, the Lady Rams got their bats going again.
Another Crawford County error allowed McBride on base. After stealing second and third, she scored when Kinkey Block grounded out. Busick then singled and stole second, and, with two outs, came home on as Payton Ashley ripped a triple. Madison Cunningham also singled, scoring Ashley for a 4-0 Lady Rams' lead.
"We've had too many errors right off the bat," Allen said. "I don't know whether the girls just don't come out ready to play or what the deal is, but the first inning has been our obstacle the whole season. When you give up half the runs you give up in the first, you've got a problem."
Addy Simpson hit on safely in the top of the fourth and stole second, but she failed to get any further.
Paoli's Isabelle Goff was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the inning and was moved to second when Stroud grounded out. McBride reached on an infield single, moving Goff to third. Kinley Block then hit a shot to Simpson at short, and Simpson fired the ball to Sargent, Crawford County's catcher, who tagged out Goff.
Paoli threatened again in the bottom of the fifth inning and Crawford County threatened with two base runners in the top of the sixth, but both teams came up empty. The Lady Pack's last chance, in the top of the seventh inning, also came up empty, and Paoli got the 4-0 win.
"I just told the girls, the first inning we gave up two runs on errors," Allen said. "We gave up four runs total. The next six innings we gave up two runs. The first inning kills us, and it has all season long."
The Lady Pack finished with just three hits, with Simpson getting two of those, both singles. Pierpoint, from the pitching circle, struck out four Paoli battlers and hit one. Crawford County had five errors and left five runners on base.
"We can't hit the ball," Allen said. "We hit the ball right to them. We just didn't have any good, solid hits. We'd have one here in one inning and one the next inning, but we just couldn't put the hits back-to-back. So, we never moved any runners around."
Allen said Pierpoint did a good job of pitching but still needs work on her defensive skills.
"Cheyenne, she's throwing the ball really well," Allen said. "I told her one thing she needs to work on is fielding after the pitch. She gives up a lot of hits right up the middle … I'm really pleased and happy with her pitching. She's only a sophomore, but what she needs to get better at is fielding after the pitch. She really struggles to react on that. But, you know, other than that I can't ask much more from her. We've just got to cut down on the errors in the field."
Paoli finished with six hits, with Ashley getting a single and triple. EB Kerby struck out eight Crawford County batters and walked one. Paoli had two errors for the game and left five runners on base.
"Another problem is we're not throwing the ball hard," Allen said. "We may be fielding, but we're not throwing the ball hard enough to get the out. On the opposite side of that, on offense, we're not running fast enough. We don't make it hard on the defense to throw us out. We're really slow on the bases."
The Lady Pack drew Providence for their first game of the upcoming Class 2A sectional. Allen said her team has the talent to be able to advance and she is confident that can happen.
"We got a really good sectional draw," she said. "We play Providence. I've not seen Providence play. I've only seen scores. They're having a tough season. They're struggling to hit the ball just like we are. With that said, it could be a really close game if we don't come out hitting. If we hit like we're capable of hitting, then we should come out and beat Providence."
Crawford County 000 000 0 - 0 3 5
Paoli 103 000 X - 4 6 2
W-Kerby. L-Pierpoint. 1B-Simpson (CC) 2, Ashley (P), Goff (P), Busick (P), Cunningham (P), McBride (P), Ashley (CC); 3B-Ashley (P). Records-Crawford County 4-8, Paoli 6-6.