Dominant Pitching Not Enough to Recover After Early Miscues
In a game that got off to a rough start, American High School’s varsity softball team was unable to string together a couple of hits to overcome an early deficit at the hands of the undefeated Newark Memorial Cougars. Even with help of a dominant pitching performance by Kalani Taylor (11), American still came up on the losing end 5-0.
“It’s hard to have fun when you are making mistakes, let alone constant errors,”varsity centerfielder Christina Brown (12) said . “Unfortunately we let our mistakes get into our heads and that was shown on how we played.”
The game opened up pretty fast as Newark was coming out of the gates swinging at anything and everything possible, with early errors from the American defense that put them in a hole at an early 2-0 deficit. American looked shocked by how their defense was holding up, noticing small mistakes that led to runs that could have easily been avoided. When it was their turn to bat the American side was quickly shut down with a quick 1-2-3 inning.
“Our confidence level dropped which is something that we need to avoid,” Brown said. “If we create bad vibes during the game then we will ultimately play bad, but we can learn from it and try to improve upon it.”
The struggles continued as American headed into the second inning; they struggled to get the outs they needed while Newark continued to reach bases safely. With no one out and two runners on base, American got a much needed out, although it was followed by a passed ball by the catcher, where both runners advanced and later scored on a hit, making the lead 4-0 in favor of the Cougars. The next batters produced quick outs and ended the top of the inning. Not only did American struggle defensively, but offensively as well; they could not find the necessary timely hit that would produce a run for them. They managed to get on base in the second, but would not make anything of it.
“We approached each batter differently after their first at bat,” varsity catcher Myrissa Pinaula (12) said , “We call different pitches for different counts.”
Newark would add another run in the top of the third, but not produce anything other than that single run; this was followed by a rather calm fourth inning for both teams showed a more composed American side. The game picked up in the fifth inning when American started to settle down, as a misplay in the outfield quickly turned into a stunning play at third base that shifted the momentum in favor of American’s performance. Following the play, pitcher Taylor proceeded to strike out the next six batters she faced.
“She [Taylor] is the fastest pitcher in MVAL, so speed is definitely a huge factor to her success,” Pinaula said . “Her curveball is great! Her change up gets them [opposing batters] a lot.”
Taylor’s performance looked to be the silver lining in this game as she went on to strike out at total of 11 newark players. Her performance was just a glimpse of her capabilities, as she is leading MVAL in strikeouts by nearly a hundred more than the closest pitcher. Although they could not mount a comeback, American looked to correct errors made during the game so they would not repeat them. A follow up game resulted with a victory against the Kennedy Titans winning by a score of 3-0.