Lady Tigers improve twofold during Marshall Tournament
The Pilot Grove Lady Tigers softball team may have finished 0-3 in the Marshall Tournament on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers may have also scored a combined three runs in 14 innings. However if you consider that more than half of the players are new to the program this year after playing with only nine last fall, head coach George Monk knows it’s going to take some time for his team to come together.
Of course, all three losses were against Class 2 or bigger schools, as the Lady Tigers fell to Carrollton 11-1 in the opening round, 16-1 against Warrensburg and 11-1 against Iberia.
“We looked much better than we did at the Jamboree in Higginsville,” Monk said. “Against good Carrolton and Warrensburg teams, we were able to put the bat on the ball. Our pitching looks promising and I know our defense will improve. We have some kinks to work out on the infield that are mainly tied to communication and positioning. Our outfield play will improve over the next few practice sessions. We do need to bring our better swings to the plate and hit the ball with more authority.”
In the opening game against Carrollton, the Lady Tigers struggled both offensively and defensively while managing just one run and one hit while committing three errors.
Carrollton led Pilot Grove 4-0 after one, 7-1 after two and 8-1 after four before adding three more runs in the fifth.
“The first game was our best game from a hitter’s perspective,” Monk said. “We made good contact and hit the ball hard a few times. Defensively, we struggled. If the ball was in the air it seems as if we would get the yips and drop the ball. Had we secured fly balls and pop ups; Carrollton would have scored only 3-4 runs. I thought Marci (Lammers) did a nice job on the mound and induced a lot of pop ups and fly balls.”
Lammers pitched all five innings for Pilot Grove and gave up 11 runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out three batters.
Kendall Rhorer had the only hit in the game for the Lady Tigers, being a double. Olivia Felten also drove in one run.
In the second game against Warrensburg, Monk said the Lady Tigers dominated his team with their offense. “They put the pressure on us with a lot of different approaches to the plate,” Monk said. “One bright spot for us in this game is that everyone put the ball in play. We were more aggressive at the plate and took better swings. Credit does go to Warrensburg for having solid defense and making some outstanding plays against us. This game did identify opportunities that we are going to work extremely hard in the next few days to improve.”
Although Warrensburg wound up winning by the mercy rule in four innings, Pilot Grove trailed by just three runs (4-1) after 1 ½ before giving up two in the bottom half of the second, nine in the third and one in the fourth.
Lammers took the loss for Pilot Grove by giving up four runs on one hit and four walks in one inning pitched. She also had two strikeouts. Grace Phillips then came in and pitched three innings in relief and allowed 12 runs on four hits.
Warrensburg also out-hit Pilot Grove 13-4. Collecting hits for Pilot Grove were Ava Hoff and Kaitlyn Maggard each with one double and Grace Peterson and Claire Rentel each with one single.
In the final game against Iberia, Monk said he thought the start of the game favored Pilot Grove.
“We were playing well and Marci was pitching with good location,” Monk said. “We were leading after two innings. Unfortunately, that is when the heart got to us. With only 10 fielders our players were drained. Iberia did a nice job of making contact and getting timely hits. We worked on playing different defense for some situations and Iberia did a good job of hitting the ball where we weren’t. There were a lot of “seeing eye” singles with bases loaded that gave Iberia several runs.”
Lammers took the loss for Pilot Grove by giving up 11 runs on 12 hits and four walks while striking out three batters in six innings.
Rhorer finished the game with the only extra base hit for the Lady Tigers, being a double. Lammers and Maggard each had one single.