Softball defense improving
Although Tonganoxie lost three of four games last week, Coach Mark Mall is seeing improvement.
"Defensively we've improved quite a bit over the past couple of weeks," he said.
That improvement showed during the second game Thursday against Piper. The Chieftains didn't commit an error in the game.
The team will be challenged to maintain that level of defense this week. Mall said Monday that two of his three starting outfielders might not be able to play because of illness.
"We've had players sick and gone," Mall said.
That's especially critical for a team that relies on fielders for outs rather than dominating pitching and lots of strike outs.
Last week's games included a 6-2 loss at Oskaloosa. The Chieftains trailed only 3-2 but gave up three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Tonganoxie rebounded with a 5-4 win against Valley Falls in extra innings.
Thursday, the team lost a nine-inning 4-3 game at Piper. Laura Samuels pitched all nine innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits.
In the second game, Sammy Schiltz got the loss, allowing six runs on 11 hits as the Chieftains lost 6-1. Tonganoxie is 7-7.
While the defense has improved, the team is not hitting as well an indication that Tonganoxie has played teams with better pitching in recent weeks, Mall said.
Deaven Workman and Jenny Crain are leading the team in hitting through 14 games.
Workman has a .466 average with six stolen bases, 15 runs scored, four triples and two home runs.
Crain is batting .490 with five walks.
Schiltz, Samuels and Leslie Starcher have pitched for the Chieftains this season.
Schiltz is 3-4 with a 5.63 earned run average. She has pitched 51 innings, allowing 25 hits and giving up 36 walks.
Samuels is 3-3 with a 3.64 ERA. She has pitched 40 and one third innings, allowing 10 hits and six walks.
Starcher is 1-0 with a 3.11 ERA. She has allowed six hits and walked five batters.
The junior varsity plays Eudora on at 4 p.m. on Monday. The junior varsity and the varsity play at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Basehor-Linwood.