Braving the cold
Brown, Gorillas fall in chilly double-header
Garett McCullough Sports Writer
It was another cold evening when the Gorillas hosted a double-header against Missouri Southern’s softball team Wednesday, but even the frigid wind couldn’t ice the pitchers for either team. Pitt State was 9-28 overall and 2-11 in the conference heading into the matchup, while the Lions had posted a few more wins with a 23-17 overall record and a 6-5 conference record. The records would not be a good indicator as both games were hard fought by each team. Pitt State dropped both games, the first by a score of 1-0 and the second 5-1.
The first game went a full eight innings before the first run was scored. Both Tiffany Brown of Pitt State and Nichole Reed for Southern pitched well enough to earn a shutout by lasting longer than the regulation game length of seven innings. Instead, they were given the opportunity to take their teams into extras. Brown will be credited with the loss, but allowed no earned runs to score as the lone run came in on an error by the third baseman, Kayla Sears, with runners on the corners. “Tiffany pitched a great game, she was hitting her spots,” coach Annette Shepherd said. “It just came down to a weird hop.”
The Gorillas mustered only three hits against Reed and left five stranded in a game where even one less runner left on base could mean all the difference. Pitt State committed four errors and the Lions hit the ball slightly better with six total hits, but until the ninth the Gorillas had been good at getting out of jams. The Lions had runners in scoring position in each of the first two and twice more in the seventh and eighth, but each time Pitt State found its way out of the inning.
In the next game Samantha Grove took the mound for the Gorillas and Reed pulled double-duty as she started the second game as well. Pitt State had her figured out slightly better than in the first game and managed five hits and one run. The Gorillas also left eight runners on base, while the Lions capitalized on opportunities, scoring five on six hits. Grove gave up two runs in each of the first two innings and Jessica Barnes took over in the third. And take over she did, allowing only one run over the next five innings with some deceptive pitching.
“Jessica did a fantastic job hitting her spots,” Shepherd said. “Her ball was really spinning.”
After the game Shepherd once again credited the loss to the team’s inability to put all three of the softball aspects together. She said the pitching was there for most of both games, but they lacked the ability to get the hits when they needed them, with runners in scoring positions.“We had the right people up in those situations,” Shepherd said. “We just didn’t come through.”Both games were lost, but as Shepherd said earlier this season, the season will not be measured by wins and losses, but by the girls’ improvement. She says this was another step toward being where they want to be.
The Gorillas head to St. Joseph for two games against conference foe Missouri Western this Friday, April 22, and the following day will head to Emporia to face the Hornets in a double-header. Missouri Western is 9-1 in the conference and Emporia State is 11-1.