Lady Trojans down CGA in five
BOURBON — For four innings, Culver Girls Academy hung tough with Triton.
But in the end, the Lady Trojans’ big second inning proved more than enough for the visitors.
Triton batters collected eight hits for nine runs batting through the order in the bottom of the second, and Hannah Jennings’ two-run double in the bottom of the fifth sealed CGA’s fate, 13-3 in five innings in Bourbon Thursday.
“We’ve been struggling hitting the ball, but this week we’ve hit the ball decent,” said Triton softball coach Steve McBride.
“I think in anything in athletics it’s just confidence. When you’re confident you perform well, when you perform well you’re confident. And particularly in baseball and softball anybody will tell you there’s a lot of failure in those sports. So how do you handle that? It’s a constant work in progress, but we’re happy to be where we’re at.”
The second inning featured a trio of doubles by the home team.
Leadoff hitter Krystal Sellers — who finished the day a perfect 4-for-4 on base with three stolen bases, an RBI and two runs for Triton — ripped an RBI double down the left field line, and first baseman Mallorie Jennings’ shot clear to the centerfield fence with two out in her second plate appearance of the inning kept Triton’s big inning going, but it was number nine batter Lexee Lemler who had the inning’s big hit, as her two-strike, bases-clearing double over CGA left fielder Emma Duthie with one out broke the game open and gave the Trojans a 4-0 lead.
“That was a big hit,” said McBride. “Lexee’s been struggling, and we’ve been working hard so it was nice to see that.”
“We didn’t think we’d fall behind that far after we had one of our better innings — I think it was three up and three down with a double play in the first inning,” said CGA head coach Randy Minas. “Then in the second inning they had four runs with two out. We just didn’t make the plays that, over time, we’ve been capable of making.”
Duthie relieved CGA starter Abby Jeffirs in the third, and the score remained 9-0 until the Eagles finally broke onto the board in the top of the fourth.
Jeffirs led off with a double to deep center and stole third, Duthie drew a two-out walk, and Jeffirs stole home on a late pickoff throw from Triton catcher Allyson Brown as Duthie stole second.
Abby VanHorn’s hard grounder to third was overthrown, allowing Duthie to score, and VanHorn was in turn driven in when Danielle Krou’s hot potato to second took a bad hop into and over Lillie Berger’s shoulder to cut the CGA deficit to 9-3.
But that was as close as the Eagles would get as Triton scratched out another run on a Brooke Roberts RBI double in the fourth, Mallorie Jennings drove in Sellers on a fielder’s choice ball to short in the bottom of the fifth, and Hannah Jennings hammered home CGA’s final coffin nail with a hard grounder into the gap at short to score pitcher Brycelyn Garbison and Mallorie Jennings.
“Abby has come on real strong; in fact it’s unfortunate she’s a senior because she’s improved virtually every game. The difference with her is she’s leveled out her swing and she’s driving the ball more,” Minas said. “The key is our second and third batter have generally brought her in, and what ended up happening (in the fourth) is we popped out to second and (catcher)… and then — unfortunately what we’ve shown on our side this year — once we get their heads down a little bit they start throwing the ball around and at least our girls have the insight and the coaches knew what to tell them to do. We were able to move the ball around the infield. Another hit or two we would’ve been right in the game.”
Triton saw solid production throughout the night from the top and middle of its order as Sellers went 2-for-2 officially with a pair of walks, three stolen bags, two runs and an RBI in the leadoff spot, Garbison went 3-for-4 on base with three runs and an RBI in the third spot in the lineup, cleanup hitter Mallorie Jennings was 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored runs in each of the three times she reached base, and five-hole hitter Brown was 4-for-4 on base with a pair of hits, an RBI, three stolen bases and three runs.
Garbison got her first win inside the circle, giving up just one earned run on two hits with five strikeouts and a walk going the distance for the Trojans.
“Right now the top and the middle of the order have been solid pretty much all season,” McBride said. “We’ve had a lot of success there, and with that comes confidence. The bottom of the order has been a struggle for us, but I think we’re getting close.”
“(Garbison) is capable, and I thought she did a nice job for us today. Our pitching has kind of kept us in it, and the defense has come along for us this year, too,” added the Triton boss.
Jeffirs took the loss for CGA giving up nine earned runs off eight hits and four walks lasting through the second. Duthie surrendered two earned runs off three hits with two walks and one struck in the remaining two and two-thirds innings as CGA slipped to 1-6.
“We changed the pitching to slow it down because they were hitting all to the left side. We took out some of our better defensive players that play infield and moved them to the outfield and actually tightened up a lot, and that last inning it slipped away from us again to where they scored more than they should’ve,” said Minas.
Triton improved to 12-4 with Thursday’s win, meanwhile, and after the 10-run rule-shortened win, the Lady Trojans got in some extra batting and fielding practice late Thursday. It was enough to impress Minas.
“We’ve got a lot to work on that’s for sure,” said the CGA skipper. “It’s impressive to see the team that beat us out there on the field practicing. That’s what we should be doing.”
“These kids like the game,” said McBride. “You’ll see kids on this roster — they’re not specialists, they’re not travel league ballplayers — they’re just good kids that probably are not great athletes but like to play softball; it’s a place for them. They’re coachable, and they’re just good kids. And winning helps.”
• TRITON 13, CULVER GIRLS ACADEMY 3 (5 inn.)
CGA: 000 30 — 3 2 2
Triton: 090 13 — 13 11 3
Brycelyn Garbison (W, 1-1) and Allyson Brown; Abby Jeffirs (L, 0-5), Emma Duthie (3) and Samantha Seibel.
2B: Jeffirs (CGA), Krystal Sellers (T), Mallorie Jennings (T), Brooke Roberts (T), Lexee Lemler (T).
Records: Triton 12-4, CGA 1-6