Darcy Robinson is seeing improvement each week from her young softball team — it’s just not showing up in the win-loss column.
Twin Valley South suffered three losses last weeek, including two in which Robinson felt her team could have won.
South fell to host Newton 10-0 on Wednesday, April 30, in a Cross County Conference game. The next night, the Panthers played well for 6-innings before dropping a 7-3 decision at National Trail. South closed out the week with another tough loss, falling to rival Tri-County North, 7-4.
“We played a very well-coached and aggressive Newton team,” Robinson said. “We took a step backwards from the weekend, in that we allowed too many baserunners, then would commit an error that cost us several runs. If you commit an error with nobody on, it doesn’t hurt that much, but if you commit one with bases loaded, or if the error should have been the third out of the inning, then those errors tend to cost us a lot.”
Newton scored a single run in the second, added five more in the third, and plated three more in the fourth.
Even in defeat, Robinson praised pitcher Ali Robertson’s effort.
“I thought Ali pitched a nice game, even though they recorded 14 hits. Several of those hits infield hits because they simply beat out the throw, whether it was a bunt or just a slow grounder. Our infield needs to feel a sense of urgency in those situations, and we just didn’t tonight,” she said.
Robinson also had praise for Robertson’s battery mate, Lacey Emrick.
“Lacey Emrick continues to supply us with solid catching behind the plate. She is really starting to “get it” as far as what it takes to be successful at the varsity level. Being just a freshman, she has made great strides this season. Her bat has been pretty hot lately too, as she hit a solid shot into left-center field for a double,” Robinson said.
South managed just two hits on the night. Emrick had a double and Robertson collected a single.
Against Trail, Robinson called it “The one that got away.”
South held a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th inning, only to see Trail score six times to rally for the win.
“This game we could call, ‘The One That Got Away.’ We had five innings of great softball at the plate, in the field and on the mound,” Robinson said. “Then National Trail’s bats got hot all of a sudden and it was game over.”
Robinson said give credit to Trail.
“For once, the other team didn’t score because of our errors. We had four, but only one run scored on account of them. They just hit the ball and we couldn’t get an out,” she said.
Delaney Adams pitched the first five innings and kept the Blazers in check.
“Delaney pitched extremely well for those first 5 innings, so I definitely give her credit for that. When they started putting people on in the 6th, I decided to make a pitching change, going with Ali, and unfortunately that’s when their bats got hot,” she said. “The really frustrating part of the game was the fact that we out-hit them, but lost. We left runners on base, in scoring position, every inning. We had runners at second and third three innings in a row. But looking at it from a positive perspective, we had runners in scoring position every single inning. That’s so much better than what we did just the night before, only getting two hits the entire game.”
Adams came out of a hitting slump and went 3-for-4 at the plate.
“If we can get her to just relax out on the field, I think she’s going to prove to be a very good softball player. She has contributed a lot as a freshman. So has her partner behind the plate, Lacey Emrick. Both of those girls came with some raw talent, but had so much to learn about the game and how we do things,” Robinson said. “Now it’s all starting to sink in and I think they’re finally enjoying it. Ali Robertson has been a real solid force too, both on offense and on defense. She’s been such a great leader for us this year, and I’m glad she’s having a good junior year.”
South closed out the week by hosting rival Tri-County North.
North took advantage of six TVS errors en route to the win.
North scored three in the second, one in the fourth and added two more in the fifth.
“Here was another game where we felt we had a good chance to win, and we allowed them to take it from us. It seemed we had just enough errors to let them score a run here or there, then next thing we knew, we ran out of time to come back,” Robinson said. “We definitely struggled at the plate again, and we just can’t have those kinds of dry spells, if we want to beat teams.”
Even in defeat Robinson found bright spots.
“The right side of our infield (Sophie Cottingim and Jerica Taylor) did a nice job on defense. Ashley Robertson ran down three tough fly balls in the outfield that saved North from having some huge innings,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s team also pulled off a rare triple play.
North led off the inning with a triple, then the next batter walked. With runners on first and third and no outs, North’s number nine batter hit a rocket line drive up the middle. The ball grazed Adams’ glove before ricocheting high off of the top of her head. Sarah Bingham caught the then pop fly at shortstop. She fired to third to get that runner out, then Ali Robertson threw to first, to get the runner that had taken off for second. Jerica Taylor made the third out in the play by touching first base.
South has a busy slate ahead this week. They were scheduled to travel to Northridge on Monday and to Eaton on Tuesday. They are to host Tri-Village on Wedneday for the Wounded Warrior Project game. The Panthers will be on the road again Thursday when they are to visit Arcanum, Friday at Miami East and again on Saturday when they are to travel to Dixie for a double header.
“Even though we’re still having trouble getting wins, we feel like we’ve been making great strides as a team, trying to compete all 7 innings of the game,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, we can finish out the last week of the season well, and build some momentum heading into tournament time.”