The Elsberry Lady Indians have now lost the first two softball games of their 2015 season, following an 18-8 defeat suffered at the hands of the Wright City Lady Wildcats on Aug. 27.
The game, which was the first home contest of the season for the Lady Indians, saw Elsberry take an early 2-0 lead after two innings.
“I thought we looked great early in the game,” said Head Coach Chad Twellman. “We hit the ball hard against a pretty decent pitcher.”
Elsberry took an 8-6 lead into the top of the seventh inning and Twellman said he was feeling pretty confident at that time.
“I truly felt that we were going to get three outs and hang on for the win,” said Twellman.
Unfortunately for the Lady Indians, the top of the seventh saw seven walks, four errors and what Twellman referred to as “two more mental errors”.
“We walked the lead-off hitter and then walked the next girl as well,” said Twellman. “I was out of timeouts to report to the mound. If I had made one more, Sydney [Pickard] would have had to come out.”
As it turned out, Pickard had to come out anyway.
By that time, however, Wright City had already scored four runs and had a 10-8 lead when freshman Cara Lovelace took the mound.
Lovelace subsequently went on what Twellman referred to as a “walk spree” and Elsberry lost the game in the seventh by 10 runs.
“Our resiliency and toughness definitely didn’t show through in that seventh inning,” said Twellman. “To go down the way we did was just heartbreaking, especially considering all of the wonderful things we had done in the six innings prior to that.”
Twellman said he felt bound to take some of the blame for the loss, as he now believes he waited too long before taking Pickard off the mound.
“Sydney just got tired and I probably didn’t pull the plug on her soon enough,” said Twellman.
Twellman said he left Pickard on the mound for two simple reasons.
“I was testing her to see if she was tough enough to fight her way through a tough situation,” said Twellman. “Also, I didn’t want to throw Cara Lovelace in the hot seat during the second game of the year when she is just a freshman.”
That’s something Twellman said he is now reconsidering.
“Maybe I need to lean on Cara a little bit more and take some pressure off of Sydney until she gains her confidence,” said Twellman.
The defeat at home came on the heels of a 7-1 loss to Louisiana on Aug. 25 in Elsberry’s season opener.
“We had some glaring issues with bunts and bunt coverages,” said Twellman. “It was a 2-1 game for most of the night until we had one blow-up inning and couldn’t field a bunt anymore.”
Twellman added that six of Louisiana’s seven runs were unearned and came about as a result of “mental mistakes that don’t show up on paper”.
“We were exactly what Coach [Dustin Robinson] and I thought we were going to be, young and inexperienced,” said Twellman.
Twellman said that every member of the team is showing talent and potential, even at this early stage.
As the season continues, Twellman said he hopes to see the team work together more as a unit and learn to understand the game better with regard to what he calls “quick settings”.
“We just lack confidence, not ability,” said Twellman.