Tight nerves and loose defense doomed the Lady Bulldogs softball team Thursday against 46th District opponent and cross-town rival Mercer County.
The Lady Titans opened the game with a 4-0 lead after one inning and never looked back.
“That’s kind of been our thorn this year,” said Burgin Head Coach Matt Frederick of his team’s unclean play in the field Thursday night. “You know as well as I do if you’re not making the right throws, the wrong error at the wrong time can mean two or three runs quick.”
Burgin looked much better in the second inning with starting pitcher Elizabeth Adams striking out Mercer’s leadoff hitter Kaylee Russell. Adams did allow two base runners in the inning; Gabby Banks reached first base on balls, followed by Kennedy Bryant, who was able to lay down a bunt for a base hit, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Adams was able to get out of the inning without taking anymore damage, however, getting Amanda Howard to pop fly out to center field for the final out of the inning.
“We are playing better defense than we were in the beginning of the year, but we’ve just got to relax,” added Frederick. “We just need to come in relaxed, don’t get too uptight and feel the pressure just because we are playing our cross-town rival.”
While the Lady Bulldogs’ defense was able to tighten up in the second inning, their offense continued to struggle against Mercer’s starting pitcher, Kaylee Russell. Russell gave up just one hit in four innings and no earned runs while striking out six batters.
With the score still 4-0 heading into the top of the third inning, the Lady Titans’ offense got back to work. Mercer’s Kelsey Shope and Morgan Reed opened the inning with singles down the left field line. With one following a Paige French fielders choice at third base, Lady Titan Kayla Crawley tried to advance the runners to second and third base with a sacrifice bunt. Instead, Reed and French were able to reach home after Burgin’s third error of the game allowed Crawley to reach second base, still with only one out.
The Lady Bulldogs gave up five more runs in the inning, while committing one more error to fall behind 11-0 after three innings. Crawley was able to steal home on a wild pitch. Gabby Banks added another run with an RBI double down the left field line, followed by an RBI single up the middle by Kennedy Bryant. Shope added the final two runs of the inning with a two-RBI double that bounced off the center field wall.