JOPLIN, Mo. — Three Rivers softball saw some ups and downs over the weekend during the Crowder Bash.
On the bright side, the Lady Raiders went 2-1 with 5-4 wins over Cloud County and Fort Scott. Sandwiched in between those two wins was a 13-6 loss to Johnson County, the Lady Raiders' first defeat of the season.
"We showed a lot of good things and a lot of bad things," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said. "We learned a lot this weekend. We pulled out a couple of tight games, but we also blew a 5-0 lead in the game we lost, and it was just self-inflicted stuff."
Three Rivers was solid at the plate for the most part throughout the weekend, hitting six total home runs.
Zoe Bisby hit the first of those six homers to help Three Rivers erase a 3-1 deficit and come away with a close win against Fort Scott. The Lady Raiders were aggressive when they got on base, stealing eight in the first game for its highest total of the weekend. Katie Young tallied four steals to lead the team.
Saje Kurpiela got the win in the circle to improve to 3-0 this season. She struck out, allowed four earned runs and five hits in six innings of work. Abbey Gann pitched the seventh inning and struck out the side to earn her second save.
After jumping out to a 5-0 lead through two innings in the second game, Johnson County kept chipping away and eventually tied the game at six in the seventh, forcing extras. In the eighth, the Johnson County offense exploded for seven runs to take the win.
"Maybe it was our first time playing at night under the lights and all that, but we misplayed five fly balls, two on the infield, three on the outfield," Null said. "Pitchers make good pitches and we just don't make the play on them.
"You know, it was a combination of the night and the wind, but you know, those are just excuses. We didn't make the plays and it cost us the game."
Allison Pingel hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh, putting Three Rivers in position for a walk-off win, but the next hit was a line-drive to center, and Pingel was caught off the base for a double play.
Gracie King hit two home runs and Bisby added another for Three Rivers (6-1) to help build the early lead, but the Lady Raiders committed four errors and stranded seven runners to leave the door open.
"Zoe hit a couple home runs, hit a couple others off the fence. She had a real big weekend," Null said. "Gracie King hit two home runs in the game we lost actually. She got us the 5-0 lead."
They bounced back in the final game, though, scoring the final two runs against Cloud County to finish the weekend on a high note with another 5-4 win. Kristyn Carpenter shined at the plate in the final game. She hit a home run and a triple with a 2-for-2 day.
"We just made a lot of mistakes and kind of played to the level of our competition a little bit," Null said. "I was glad we won in one hand, but on the other hand we have a lot of work to do."
Allison Pingel and Bisby both doubled, helping the Lady Raiders get in scoring position despite finishing with their lowest hit total (6) of the weekend. Pingel finished with three doubles on the weekend.
"I thought we hit the ball very well," Null said. "We had 11 hits the first game, 11 hits the second game against kind of better competition. And then we faced somebody that's not quite as strong and we had six hits. Just the focus and learning how to compete for seven full innings, we just haven't got there yet."
Kurpiela kept her perfect record intact with her fourth win in the circle. She earned five strikeouts in four innings of work, allowing four runs, three earned. Gann tallied her third save, striking out seven in three hitless innings.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic