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Lady Pirates continue to struggle early, lose to Osage 5-3 in TCC

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville senior catcher Alexis Trigg prepares to tag Osage's Shelby Miner on a play at the plate in the fifth inning Tuesday night in Tri-County Conference action at Bill Simmons field. The Lady Indians defeated Boonville 5-3.

Boonville Lady Pirates softball coach Christie Zoeller can’t pinpoint why her team has gotten off to slow starts in the last two games.

After falling behind early last week against Hallsville only to battle back to make it a one run ballgame at 6-5, the Lady Pirates had the same exact scenario Tuesday night at home against the Osage Indians.

Except this time, Boonville trailed Osage 5-0 after 4 1/2 before rallying back with two in the fifth and one again in the seventh to take a 5-3 loss.

“I can’t explain it,” Zoeller said. “We definitely struggled at the plate tonight. We learned that you cannot wait until the fifth inning to start stringing hits together. Unfortunately when we started hitting the ball there just wasn’t enough game left. Our defense played a good game tonight. We were solid in every position and saw a couple of diving plays. These are things that make me excited for the rest of the season. Right now we seem to be struggling putting our hitting, fielding and pitching together. Finding a way to put it all together will be our focus over these next few weeks.”

While slipping to the .500 mark for the first time this season at 3-3, the Lady Pirates also fell one game below the .500 mark in the Tri-County Conference at 1-2.

Of course it didn’t help that Osage jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on two hits and one walk, or that Boonville didn’t collect its first hit of the ballgame until the bottom half of the second on a two-out single to short by Olivia Eichelberger.

But that’s the kind of night the Lady Pirates had with only two batters reaching base through the first-three innings. Boonville also had its third runner reach base in the fourth after a hard single to center by senior Brooke Eichelberger, but Osage pitcher Carly Ward came back to get the next-two hitters on a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.

In the fifth, Osage struck again with three runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter to extend the lead to 5-0.

However, in the bottom half of the inning, Boonville rallied back with two runs on a two-out single to left by Rachel Massa and a RBI-double to right center by Kourtney Kendrick to make it 5-1. Then, after Daylynn Baker reached on an error by the shortstop to keep the inning going, Emma West came back and hit a single to left to score a run to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Lady Pirates also made it interesting in the bottom half of the seventh after Olivia Eichelberger reached on an error to lead off the inning. Alexis Trigg then singled on a bunt back to the pitcher, followed by a fly out to center by Massa with Eichelberger stealing home on the play.

Boonville never got any closer as Osage came back with a double play to end the game by getting Kendrick on a fly out to the pitcher and Gracey Rose-who was running for Trigg-at second.

Ward picked up the complete game victory for Osage while Abby Pulliam took the loss for Boonville. In seven innings, Ward struck out seven batters and gave up three runs on six hits and one walk. Pulliam dropped to 3-2 on the season by giving up five runs on five hits and four walks while striking out five batters. Emma West then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed one hit while striking out two batters.

Ward also went 2-for-4 in the game for Osage with a single, double and two RBIs. Reese Good was 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI while Liberty Gamm added one single and one RBI and Halle Helton with one single.

For Boonville, Kourtney Kendrick went 1-for-4 with a double and one RBI. Emma West finished the game with a single and one RBI while Brooke Eichelberger, Olivia Eichelberger, Alexis Trigg and Rachel Massa each had one single.

In the JV game, Boonville defeated Osage 10-5.

The Lady Pirates, improving to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the TCC, trailed Osage 2-1 after the first inning before rallying back with five in the second and fourth again in the fourth. The Indians cut the lead to 6-4 after 3 1/2.

Boonville JV coach Caitlin Pendergraft said the Lady Pirates came out ready to play ball tonight.

“We had no strikeouts, were swinging at good pitches, being aggressive on the bases and communicating well throughout the game,” Pendergraft said. “All of these were the finesse pieces we were working on last week, and tonight they put it all together. Brooke Eichelberger and Rachel Massa did well pitching in the circle tonight while moving the ball around the zone and hitting their spots. We are very proud of how these girls came out to play tonight.”

Brooke Eichelberger picked up the win in the circle for Boonville while Ward took the loss for Osage. Eichelberger pitched the first-three innings and struck out four batters while giving up four runs on four hits and one walk. Rachel Massa then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed one run on one hit and one walk while striking out two batters.

Freshman Alison Eichelberger went 2-for-3 in the game for Boonville with a single, double and one RBI. Carlie Bishop doubled while Gracey Rose and Olivia Eichelberger added one single and one RBI and Faith Mesik, Josie Widel and Brooke Eichelberger each with one single.

Bailey Luttrell had two hits and drove in one run to lead all hitters for Osage.