Any coach would tell you that the little things mean everything in sports.
They often mean the difference between winning and losing.
The Lourdes Academy softball team didn’t do those things on Monday.
The Knights gave up three runs in the first inning to the Markesan Hornets, thanks to some errors, leading to a 9-2 victory for the Hornets at Red Arrow Park.
The first inning marked the death knell for the Knights, as Markesan got three hits in the frame, but scored three runs on those hits thanks to some fielding errors.
It started with the first batter on a dropped flyball. Things esclated as the Hornets collected three straight hits but picked up some extra bases thanks to a few more Knights errors.
“We can’t have unforced errors like we had and so many unearned runs,” Knights coach Spencer Rolph said. “That kind of set the tone the first inning.”
Markesan was able to slowly build their lead through the rest of the game, scoring singles runs in the second, third, sixth and seventh innings and picking up two more in the fifth.
The Knights’ offense was just unable to get going and apply some pressure on the Hornets.
The closest they would come to doing that would be in the third inning. Lourdes put runners at second and third with one out thanks to base hits from Karley Bartlett and Jayne Held.
But the Knights couldn’t capitalize, as the next two batters flew out to end the threat.
“Anytime you are playing a good team like Markesan, you want to take advantage of the opportunities,” Rolph said. “We had an opportunity, but we flew out instead of putting the ball in play on the ground.
“It’s a learning thing. We’re getting better and we’ll keep working on it.”
Lourdes finally broke through in the seventh inning, getting runs from Jeanne Dishaw and Emily Kinas, but it was too little, too late for the Knights.
Bartlett, Held and Dishaw had six of the seven Lourdes hits on the afternoon, each recording two apiece.
For the Knights, it’s been tough on them and Rolph, who is in his first year with the Knights. Rolph is implementing a new system in the program, but it has been tough to do with Lourdes being cooped up in a gym until the last week or so.
“It’s very tough when you are trying to implement a system and you can’t get outside and work on the things that you want to work on,” Rolph said. “We are changing somethings up. They are doing a great job, but it’s tough if you can’t get outside and do it.”
But it’s still early enough in the schedule that the Knights can learn on the fly in games and that’s exactly what Rolph thinks his team can do and be a better team come the WIAA tournament.
“At the tournament, we want to be the best team we can be,” Rolph said. “That’s what we talk about, and I see a ton of improvement and I’m happy with the girls.”
Markesan…311 012 1– 9 10 3
Lourdes…000 000 2 — 2 7 6
WP: Teryn Otto (7 IP, BBs, Ks). LP: Jayne Held (3 IP, BBs, Ks).
Leading hitters: LA — Held 2×4; Karley Bartlett 2×4 2B; Jeanne Dishaw 2×3. MARK — Hailey Drager 3×4 RBI; Otto 2×4 2 2B, RBI.