Softball no longer undefeated after loss to Paint Branch
BLAZER FIELD, April 16 -
The girls' varsity softball team (7-1) lost their first match of the season to a strong Paint Branch team (7-0). Though the game remained close throughout, too many defensive mistakes and the subsequent loss of confidence led to Blazer defeat.
The teams remained even through the first two innings, both maintaining extreme defensive concentration to prevent runs. In the top of the second inning, key defensive catches were made by freshman Kara Madden, sophomore Molly Nicholson, and senior captain Chloe Sheridan.
In the top of the third inning however, things took a turn for the worse as the Blazers made a series of errors that eventually lead to three Panther runs. Blair Coach Louis Hoelman believes that this was a turning point in the game which really affected the team's chances. "You're going to make mistakes in the game of softball, but you have to avoid making them all together," he said.
Despite these unfortunate events, the Blazers came back and retaliated toward the bottom of the third inning. Juniors Blake Morgan-Gamber and Emily Haislip both hit singles and were batted in to home by a double from sophomore Samantha Schweickhardt, to make the score 3-2 Paint Branch. However, the Panthers came out strong again in the top of the fourth, scoring two more runs.
The rest of the game was largely uneventful except for in the last inning when Blair's energy seemed to pick up and they were able to score an additional run. But this proved to have a minor effect as Paint Branch eventually shut them down to end the game with a score of 5-3.
Hoelman believes that the loss was largely due to the team's low levels of confidence after Paint Branch began to score. "We didn't come out sharp, and when they took the lead we stopped believing in ourselves. This is the first game we've fallen behind in, and instead of getting tough we panicked," he said.
Blair failed to capitalize on opportunities and didn't adequately position themselves to score many times. "We didn't take advantage of having players on base," said Haislip.
Although this game was disappointing because of the team's goal of remaining undefeated all season, it does not eliminate Blair's chance to win the division. According to Hoelman, if Blair beats the so far undefeated Sherwood and Sherwood beats Paint Branch, the teams will be in a three-way-tie for first place in the division. To get ready for the tough Sherwood game, Haislip believes the team needs to prepare themselves mentally, more than physically. "We need to get ready mentally because we were nervous since it was our first hard game of the season," she said.
Softball plays its next home game April 20 at 7 p.m. against Sherwood.
Editor's note: Blake Morgan-Gamber is a staff writer for Silver Chips Online.
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