Mistakes send Cats to fourth loss in five gamesApril 23, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
JASPER — The Jasper softball team is in a little bit of a rough stretch at the moment.
After opening the season with a 4-2 record, the Wildcats have now dropped four of their last five games to fall to 7-7 on the season after Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss at home to South Spencer.
What’s seemed to doom Jasper the most during this dry spell has been small, but costly mistakes.
“We have to stop making these mistakes because a lot of them are middle school type of mistakes,” said Jasper head coach Matt Pryor. “They’re not sliding, not diving for balls, not drop stepping on fly balls — things they know how to do. I loved the fight and the poise they had but we just need to start playing all out.”
The players are in agreement that the mistakes have taken a toll on the team and have even cost the Wildcats chances at a few more wins.
What’s the key to improving? Learn from the past and not dwell on it.
“I think we just have to let go of our mistakes and know that we’re going to grow from them each and every game,” said senior third baseman Rachel Gress, who finished with two singles and an RBI in the loss. “I think if we just keep our heads up in the game then we’ll be able to move on.”
The Wildcats started the game with two solid defensive plays, both by senior shortstop Halli Leinenbach. She robbed South Spencer’s Ashton Rasor of an extra-base hit with a catch and then doubled-up AJ Middleton to get the Cats out of the inning.
However, it was the Rebels (3-4) that struck first with a big second inning. All nine batters came to the plate as South Spencer took a 3-0 lead courtesy of RBI singles from Cassidy Cook, Luci Duncan and Averi Myers.
Jasper wouldn’t waste much time to answer as Gress drove in the Cats first run with an RBI single and then Madison Allen drove in Kennedy Matheis with a sacrifice fly to trim the lead to 3-2.
“Even when we’re down, us seniors have preached all year that we need to just keep working and keep fighting,” Gress said. “We always say every inning is 0-0 and we just have to play our game, not the scoreboard.”
The Wildcats had a scary incident in the third inning as Leinenbach was injured when she fouled a ball that came back and hit her near the shoulder. She would end up missing the rest of the game as Hannah Schwenk would take her position in the lineup.
South Spencer had another big inning with their performance in the fourth inning. After Jasper pitcher Mia Werner struck out the first two Rebel batters, South Spencer then went on a two-out rally.
Rasor and Jordan Daming got on base with singles and then Middleton drove in two with a double to make it 5-2. Pitcher Karlee Frobeter followed that up with another RBI double to put South Spencer up 6-2.
While the Rebels added another run in the top of the fifth courtesy of another RBI double from Myers to make it 7-2, Jasper wasn’t going to go away quietly.
The Cats added a run in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of a sacrifice fly from Kennedy Matheis but left runners on second and third base. In the sixth inning, Schwenk drove in Taylor Mitchell with an RBI double to make it 7-4 but once again, the Cats left a runner in scoring position.
“While we may be making some mistakes, we’re not getting down on ourselves as a team,” Pryor said. “South Spencer is a good hitting team with some pretty good pitching, if you don’t play a flawless game then you’re probably going to get beat by them.”
Jasper got a leadoff single in the 7th inning courtesy of Werner but the Cats were unable to get any more than that.
Werner finished with three singles, Gress added two singles and an RBI while Mitchell, Schwenk and Grace Colvin all added hits. Schwenk, Allen and Kennedy Matheis had the other RBIs.
As we prepare to head into May shortly, the Wildcats are getting ready to head into the busy part of their conference schedule. After only playing one Big Eight game so far (a victory over Washington), their next three games will all be conference battles with some big games against Vincennes Lincoln and Boonville still down the road.
While these games are obviously important, Jasper wants to treat every game the same — play clean, smart baseball and continue to improve.
“We want to continue to clean our small mistakes and go into these games knowing we’re a good enough team to beat anyone in our conference,” Pryor said. “It’s going to be an exciting atmosphere, hopefully they don’t put extra stress on themselves.”
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