Lady Wildcats rally, but fall a little short at home to the Kaws
Maybe it got into a pattern after being forced into the underdog role more often than not over the past weekend, but the Holton softball team found itself having to rally on its home field quite a bit against Perry-Lecompton on Monday night.
The Wildcats dug themselves into some holes in the league doubleheader in Holton and while the team showed a lot of fight, it wasn’t quite enough as the Kaws ended up sweeping them with 6-4 and 14-11 victories.
It looked like Holton would jump out to an early lead in the first game, as the Wildcats held the Kaws in check defensively before Annalyss Phillips led off the second inning with a single.
Gabby Porras then advanced courtesy runner Maleah Price to second with a swinging bunt and Bond followed up with a single that Price tried to score on, but she was recorded out at the plate.
The Wildcats kept up that aggressive play as Bond tried to score on an error that put Paige Delay on base, but she couldn’t break through either and instead of holding a 2-0 lead it was still a tie ball game.
“You have to go get them and they have to make plays and they made plays,” HHS coach John Deitrich said of the Kaws.
It wouldn’t remain tied for long, though, as the Kaws took advantage of an error in the next half inning to plate one run before an RBI double gave Perry a 3-0 lead.
Holton responded and went to work with two outs as Ali Morris followed up a two-out double by Mackenzie Moore with an RBI single to make it a 3-1 ball game after three innings.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their bats went quiet after that while the Kaws continued to make some noise as a sacrifice fly added to their lead before a costly error gave the visitors two extra runs in the fifth inning.
Looking up at a 6-1 deficit, Holton had to get something going in the seventh inning and it did just that as Ashlyn Weilert doubled with one out to set a rally in motion.
Brianna Boyett then singled and Moore did the same to load up the bases. Morris then nearly unloaded them in one swing, with her RBI double scoring two. Quinn Holaday then reached on an error to bring in another run and get the Wildcats within two runs.
That’s as close as Holton would get, though, as two quick outs ended the threat and allowed Perry to pick up a 6-4 victory.
“We started too late,” Deitrich said. “We had opportunities early and couldn’t push runs across.”
P: HHS- Holaday and Phillips; PL- Fast and Karten.
2B: HHS- Moore, Morris and A. Weilert; PL- Erickson.
While it looked like the Wildcats might build off that momentum to close out the first game, it was actually that Kaws that jumped out to a lead in game two thanks to an RBI sacrifice bunt and single.
Perry-Lecompton made it a 3-0 lead once again thanks to an RBI single in the second inning, but Holton was a little quicker to respond this time around.
With a patient approach at the plate, the Wildcats started to give the Kaws fits as Porras drew a walk before the second out of the second inning. After that, the next four Wildcat batters (Shay Tanking, Weilert, Boyett and Moore) drew walks with Moore bringing in one run and Porras scoring on a passed ball to make it a 3-2 ball game.
Perry-Lecompton got some fireworks in the following inning, as a two-run home run put the Kaws back up by three runs and the visitors then pushed their lead to 6-2 in the fourth inning.
In both games, the Wildcats ended up outhitting the Kaws, but errors were the story in the second game as Holton racked up two extra-inning’s worth to play to Perry’s advantage.
Missing starters Taryn Weilert and Casi VanAusdall out due to injury may have been a part of that disadvantage, but Deitrich pointed to some other strong plays on the defensive end that should be helping the team out.
“We just have some holes right now where we just have to have some kids step up a little bit more,” Deitrich said.
Holton went back to work on offense in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Tanking singled to lead things off while Ashlyn Weilert followed with a double.
Boyett then came through with a sacrifice fly while Weilert scored on an error. After a double by Morris, Holaday lined an RBI single to left field to get the Wildcats back within one run, 6-5.
The Wildcats weren’t done yet, though, and the team kept that momentum rolling in the fifth inning. This time around, it was Porras who delivered the leadoff single before Bond reached on a fielder’s choice. After back-to-back errors, Bond came in to score and tie the game at 6-6.
Following that, Boyett continued her offensive outburst this spring with a two-RBI single that gave HHS an 8-6 lead.
The long ball worked to the Kaws’ favor once again, though, as the visitors scored seven runs on two home runs (a grand slam and a three-run blast) in the sixth inning before adding an insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh.
This time, the deficit was six runs in the Wildcats’ final at-bat, but the HHS players clearly were not lacking for resolve on Monday night.
Tanking led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and Weilert followed suit. Boyett then singled to load up the bases and Moore delivered once again with a two-RBI single. Morris followed that with an RBI groundout that got Holton within three runs, but the rally would come up short as Perry held on for a 14-11 victory to earn the series sweep.
“We just have to finish games and we have to finish innings. We have to value every pitch because every little opportunity we had, it seemed like was followed by some fluky thing,” Deitrich said.
Holton (6-8) will try to get some momentum going its way the next time out, but that will be no easy task as the team will now get set to host Jeff West in a key league showdown starting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
P: HHS- Bond and Phillips; PL- Erickson, Fast and Karten.
2B: HHS- A. Weilert (2) and Morris; PL- Fast and Carver.
HR: PL- Robertson (2) and Spencer.
SB: PL- Folks (2) and Karten.