THS softball struggles vs. Bobcats
In its first outing of the season, the Tonganoxie High softball team had no problem scoring run after run. Nearly two weeks later, the Chieftains' offensive production was nowhere to be found.
THS managed just two runs on a combined 11 hits in a pair of losses to Kaw Valley League rival Basehor-Linwood. The Bobcats swept a twin bill Tuesday at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, winning by scores of 11-0 and 17-2.
After giving up a run in the first inning of the opener, the Chieftains (2-2, 2-2 KVL) got a chance to answer when Marissa Martin and Sierra Graham singled to open the bottom of the inning. The scoring chance went for naught, though, as Martin was caught in a rundown and Graham was picked off at first base.
"As much as we stress to be aggressive, we also stress to be smart base runners," coach Stephanie Wittman said.
The Bobcats (6-0, 4-0) doubled their advantage with a run in the second, then later put the game out of reach with a nine-run fourth. BLHS racked up eight hits and drew three walks in the frame.
The offensive struggles continued for the Chieftains, who managed just two hits off Bobcat pitcher Madison McDowell after the first inning. Halley Calovich led off the third inning with a single, but was retired on a fielders choice. Graham then opened the fourth with a double, but McDowell retired the next six THS hitters, and the five-inning mercy rule went into effect.
Senior Morgan Oroke struggled in the pitcher's circle, giving up 12 hits — five of them for extra bases — and walking five while striking out three.
BLHS led 1-0 after three innings in the nightcap, then once again used a big fourth inning to blow the game open. The Bobcats erupted for six runs in the frame — three of which came on passed balls.
All six runs came with two outs. Chieftain pitcher Taylor Lee got Basehor-Linwood's Kayleigh Schoenfelder to ground into a 6-2-5 double play with the bases loaded, but the THS defense struggled to record the third out.
"When our pitchers put themselves in position to get out of an inning, we need to make sure, defensively, that we're helping them out in any way possible," Wittman said. "Routine fly balls and ground balls need to be made."
Wittman's squad finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Calovich drove in Bree Cash — a courtesy runner for catcher Lainy Walker — but the Bobcats tacked on two more in the fifth. The final Chieftain run came in the home half of the frame when Chelby Abney doubled and scored on a groundout by Martin. Any remaining doubt was erased when BLHS scored six more in the seventh.
Hits weren't quite as hard to come by in the second game, as THS got seven off Bobcat starter Asia Larsen, but it went just 1-for-10 in the final three innings. Lee suffered the loss, allowing 16 hits and walking 12. Lee and Oroke are both 1-1.
The Chieftains will have yet another extended break between games, as they'll have a week off before hosting Bonner Springs on April 15.
"Game situations are obviously good for us, but I also think in practice, we're doing the right things to become a better team come regional time," Wittman said.
BLHS 110 90 — 11
THS 000 00 — 0
BLHS 010 622 6 — 17
THS 000 110 0 — 2
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