03/08/04 — Trojan softball team learns from doubleheader loss

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Trojan softball team learns from doubleheader loss

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 8, 2004 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Learn from your mistakes.

It's the mantra second-year Mount Olive College softball coach Jamie Kylis has adopted this season. Who could blame her, since an average of seven first-year starters take the field each game.

Early-inning miscues and lack of offensive firepower hindered the young Trojans in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon against fellow NCAA Division II member Presbyterian (S.C.) College. The visiting Blue Hose capitalized on every mistake, and swept both games 3-0 and 5-2 on the Nancy Chapman Cassell Field diamond.

"Games like this are good for us because we learn where our mistakes are and we learn where our weaknesses are," Kylis said. "It's something for us to work on in practice and that's something that can easily be fixed."

Mount Olive committed a combined five errors in the two seven-inning contests. The Trojans yielded two first-inning runs, sparked by an outfield error, in the opening game. An infield throw allowed the Blue Hose to grab command in the second inning of the second game. Presbyterian tallied a total of five unearned runs on those mistakes.

Despite those errors, Trojan pitchers Shauna Cowdrey and Erin Case kept their team within striking distance.

Cowdrey got into a groove and retired 11 of 12 batters she faced in the first game. The only mistake was throwing a first-pitch change-up to Amanda Teal, who slapped it over the left field fence in the third inning. That gave Presbyterian a 3-0 lead.

"A (good offensive) team like this to hold them to 3-0, she's coming right along like I thought she would," Kylis said. "When Shauna stays in her game and approaches the game pitch by pitch, which is what we've been teaching her, she's more fluid in her motion.

"She has more control of her game. Before, she was just throwing inning by inning."

The Blue Hose (15-2) threatened to pad their lead in the latter innings, but Cowdrey shut them down. The right-hander scattered six hits in a complete-game effort, but two of those three runs she allowed were unearned.

Lead-off batter Rachel Bailey emerged Presbyterian's top hitter with a 2-for-3 effort. Clean-up batter Jessica Peterka added a first-inning RBI single.

"Someone went 'yard' on her and she bounced right back into her rhythm," Kylis said. "That's a huge compliment to her because she's not used to having that happen. To bounce back like that shows me how much she is growing and maturing as a pitcher in just a short amount of time.

"That's exciting for me."

Case encountered trouble in game two when the Trojan defense failed to execute against the Blue Hose's bunting game. Two Presbyterian hitters reached on successful bunt attempts, and another was thrown away which helped ignite a four-run outburst in the second inning.

The Blue Hose led 5-0.

"We need to get more communication going on," Kylis said. "Instead of clashing, the catcher has the best view when you see the bunt. If we can get her to be more verbal and get a chain reaction on that, we might be able to get a better jump (on the play).

"We need to work on that."

Case settled down and yielded just one hit during the next five innings. The right-hander started hitting the corners and induced five ground-ball outs, four infield pop-ups and a third-strike bunt which resulted in a strikeout.

However, neither pitcher received any consistent offensive support.

Mount Olive left seven runners on base and batted 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the first game. A fourth-inning base running mistake left catcher Niki Price stranded at third after reaching on a lead-off single. That was the closest the Trojans came to scoring against Presbyterian right-hander Brooke Norris, who recorded the Blue Hose's fourth shutout in the last six games.

In game two, Mount Olive (5-8) scratched for single runs in second and sixth innings. The second-inning score snapped Presbyterian's string of holding an opponent scoreless for 27 2/3 innings. But the Trojans batted 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left nine stranded.

"We're executing to where we're getting the runners on base, but we just need to be a little bit more aggressive when it comes to getting them in," Kylis said. "I'm extremely confident that we'll get the job done. We'll keep working through our weaknesses at the plate."

And mature by learning from their mistakes.

Game 1

Presbyterian 201 000 0 -- 3 6 0

Mount Olive 000 000 0 -- 0 5 1

Leading hitters -- Mount Olive -- Melissa Bright 2-3; Niki Price 2-3; Liz Recny 1-3. Presbyterian -- Rachel Bailey 2-3, 2B; Amanda Teal 1-4, HR, RBI; Jessica Peterka 1-4, RBI.


Presbyterian (14-2)

Norris (W) 7 5 0 0 1 2

Mount Olive (5-7)

Cowdrey (L) 7 6 3 1 3 3

HBP -- Goens (by Norris); Beavers (by Norris).

Game 2

Presbyterian 140 000 0 -- 5 6 5

Mount Olive 010 001 0 0 -- 2 4 4

Leading hitters -- Mount Olive -- Melissa Bright 2-3. Presbyterian -- Rachel Bailey 2-4, RBI; Jamie Vining 1-4, RBI; Katie Fite 1-2.


Presbyterian (15-2)

Wheelus (W) 5 1 1 0 2 2

Slater (S) 2 3 1 0 0 2

Mount Olive (5-8)

Case (L) 7 6 5 2 2 4

WP -- Wheelus.