EATON — At times this season, Eaton’s softball team has frustrated third-year head coach Maggie Neanen.
The youthful Eagles (who start just two seniors, a junior, and the rest are freshman and sophomores) were sporting a 15-10 record heading into this week and could easily be playing the “what if” game.
Three of the 10 losses have been by one-run and two others have come as a result of their opponents scoring in their final at-bat — meaning Eaton could very easily have been 20-5 at the moment.
But with youth comes growing pains.
Last week was another example. Eaton led Milton-Union 3-1, before falling 5-3 as the Bulldogs scored twice in the bottom of the sixth on an Eaton error. Another of the Bulldogs’ runs scored due to an error.
“In our loss against Milton-Union on Tuesday, errors played a huge part in it,” Neanen said. “We had a couple defensive miscues and errors that really hurt us in the long run.”
Sophomore Annika Gels pitched a good game, only giving up two earned runs, according to Neanen.
Neanen said, “Milton-Union was smart walking our deadly hitter Becca Mowen after she started off her game with a double to score Bailey Worley.”
Mowen, who was walked in her other two at-bats, leads the team in batting average at .500 and doubles with 20, according to Neanen.
Logan Unger went 2-for-4 on the day along with Bailey Worley going 2-for-3 with a walk.
On Wednesday, Carlisle’s pitcher kept Eaton’s offense in check.
“Carlisle’s pitcher had very good spin and changed her speeds very well, keeping our hitters guessing,” Neanen said. “Defense again had some errors, allowing Carlisle to score only three earned runs on the game. Offensively, we only had four hits in the game.”
Eaton scored its lone run on a double by Worley, who drove in Kathryn Madewell. Madewell reached base on bunt single then stole second base, prior to Worley’s double.
Eaton closed out the week with an 11-1 win over Dixie on Friday, in six innings.
Gels only allowed two hits on the game, with nine strike outs. She leads the SWBL with 179 strikeouts this season.
Mowen went 2-for-4 with another double, putting her total at 20 doubles on the season, according to Neanen.
Eaton earned the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Division II, Dayton 1 sectional. The Eagles will open tournament play at home against No. 13 seed Dayton Belmont (5-1) on Tuesday, May 9. The winner will meet No. 11 Dayton Carroll (5-8) on Thursday. The game will be played at Eaton if the Eagles beat Belmont.
The sectional final is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, at a site yet to be determined.
The bottom half of the bracket has No. 8 Valley View hosting No. 9 Bellbrook in the first round. The winner will play at No. 6 Chaminade Julienne on Thursday for the right to play in the sectional championship game.
Monroe, Greenville and Clinton Massie earned the top three seeds.
Eaton was scheduled to host National Trail on Monday and will close out the regular season by hosting Covington on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.