Lack of timely hitting costs Hurricanes in 4-1 setback to HLV
Timely hitting is just as important as pitching and defense in softball.
You don't need to ask Kim Johnson that.
The Albert City-Truesdale coach saw her team leave eight runners on base and six in scoring position as the 17th-ranked Hurricanes couldn't come up with the hits when they needed them and thus lost a Class 1A quarterfinal round game to top-ranked HLV of Victor 4-1 on Monday night at Harlan Rogers Park in Fort Dodge.
AC-T, now 31-8 overall, plays the loser of a game between Edgewood-Colesburg and South Hamilton on Wednesday night at 5 p.m.
AC-T got two hits in the first inning and left both runners on base, and got two more hits in the second inning and stranded those runners as well.
The Hurricanes left two more runners in scoring position in the sixth inning.
"That's what it came down to," Johnson said. "We didn't get hits to score runs and they did. That was the difference between us and them."
AC-T got singles from Alicia Lovin and Lori Hogrefe in the first inning, but a pop-up and a ground out ended the inning.
Karmen Loving and Shayla Degner each had a single in the second inning, but they were left on base with one out.
HLV, however, did not strand its runners on base. The Warriors got a a single from janet Barker and a single from Cari Kinzenbaw. They advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt and both runners scored on a throwing error to home plate on a ground ball.
The Warriors scored two more runs in the third inning to make it a 4-0 game. Missy Wille drew a walk before Barker ripped a double over the left fielder's head to score Wille.
Kinzenbaw followed with a single to score Barker.
AC-T got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning. Mollie McCabe started the inning by reaching on an infield error. Shayla Degner then singled to put runners on first and second.
A groundout and a pop-up left the runners on second and third before Barker unleashed a wild pitch to allow McCabe to score. A ground out ended the inning.
The Hurricanes had another golden opportunity in the sixth inning, but couldn't cash in. Rachel Degner led off the inning by reaching on an infield single. An infield error allowed Degner to advance to third base. With runners on first and third, Loving hit a ball back to the pitcher Barker, who faked a throw to first base and nailed Degner at the plate trying to score.
AC-T had one runner reach base on an infield error in the seventh inning, but the next batter popped up to end the game.
Barker allowed six hits, no earned runs, walked none and struck out three for HLV.
Degner took the loss. She allowed five hits, four earned runs, walked two and struck out one over six innings.
Shayla Degner, who was batting .180 coming into the tournament, had two of the Hurricanes' six hits.
Despite the loss, Johnson said it was a positive experience for her team.
"We've still got a young team," she said. "It's quite an experience playing the No. 1 team right off the bat. I thought we played well considering the circumstances."
"The girls are upset," Johnson added. "We had some crazy things happen. April (Schuknecht) has had a hip flexor injury the last week or so and couldn't go anymore. We just ran out of players and didn't get the hits when we needed them."