MAPLE PARK – One bad inning.
That was the difference in the Kaneland softball team’s contest against Marengo on Friday afternoon.
Errors and walks were a major issue for the Knights as Marengo scored four runs in the top of the third inning – without a hit, and eventually squeezed out a 7-4 victory.
“Any time you give a team five or six outs in an inning, you are going to pay for it most of the time. We paid for it today,” Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. “There were six runs that were unearned and we should have been able to cut those off at the plate."
All four runs were credited to Kaneland starting pitcher Courtney Davis. She walked three batters in the inning before being pulled with the bases loaded and one run already scored. Anissa Becker relieved Davis.
The first batter Becker faced hit a groundball to Morgan Weber. The ball got by the second baseman and two more runs scored. The final run came in on a fielder’s choice.
Weber made up for the error in the bottom of the fourth inning. Her two-run home run with one out capped a four-run rally to tie the score.
“We just started seeing the ball and hitting it like we are capable of doing. It was a one-inning wonder, unfortunately, and we are struggling with the bat. I have confidence we will snap out of it,” Willis said.
The Indians responded with a run in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back hits by Mariah Dionne and Veronica Ruelius put runners on the corners. Dionne eventually scored on an Gabbi Markison sacrifice fly to give the Indians a 5-4 lead.
“Our kids are still learning how to find ways to win and I thought [the response] was important to score that run and get the lead right back," Marengo coach Dwain Nance said. "Our kids are resilient. They believe in themselves and they believe in each other. It was a great team win today.”
Marengo scored two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh to cap its scoring.
The Knights mustered five hits on the afternoon. Paige Kuefler went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Meg Cohrs finished with a double and an RBI.
“We are making some improvements, but we are still not up to playing to our ability yet. Hopefully, we will get there pretty soon,” Willis said. “Once we do those basic routine things, we will be all right."