Hornets hang tough against Frontier: Falcons pull away in seventh inning, defeat Rossville 11-2
Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:00 pm
BY JIMMY GILLISPIE firstname.lastname@example.org
ROSSVILLE – Third-year head coach Amanda Szabela is trying to keep her Rossville softball players positive this spring, despite its 1-6 record.
When Frontier turned a respectable Rossville loss into a blowout defeat during the final inning, Szabela kept her calm. She knows the loss was tough, but she is trying to build the program up from one that won only zero games in 2012 and one in 2013. So, playing maybe their best six innings of the season before faltering in the seventh is something the Hornets can build on for the rest of the season.
“I’ve been trying to be positive with the girls,” Szabela said. “We’ve struggled for the last couple of years, so we’ve tried to focus on the good things that we’re doing. On Saturday, we played really well against Peru for a couple innings and then things kind of fell apart from there. We’re continuing to build. We played two really good innings against Peru and tonight we played five or six really good innings.
“I think the girls are hitting the ball really well and I think we’re working really hard,” she added. “We’re making a couple of defensive errors, which right now is our Achilles heel. Offensively, we’re doing what I’m asking and we’ll get there.”
Rossville hit the ball well against Frontier during Monday’s home contest. The Hornets recorded eight hits during the seven-inning contest. They struck out only three times as they put the ball in play during nearly every at-bat.
Senior Madison Stonebraker led the Hornets with three hits, one of which was a double to center field. Junior Addison Bushfield added two hits, while freshman Alexis Longenecker, junior Scotlynn Mathews and sophomore Kaela Hinton each earned hit one the day.
“We’re making contact,” Szabela said. “We’ve got some girls that went 3-for-4 at the plate. One went 2-for-4. So we’re hitting the ball and putting the ball in play. It will come.”
Both teams threatened with runners on base during the first two innings, but neither scored. Frontier loaded the bases in the second inning with two outs, but a pop up to Longenecker on the mound ended the half inning. Rossville answered by putting its lead-off two batters on first and second base. They each advanced one base on a fielder’s choice. A strike out and infield groundball ended the inning for the Hornets.
The Falcons broke the scoreless tie in the third inning. After a pop fly to Rossville’s shortstop, the Falcons hit a triple to right-center field and later scored on a passed ball. The next batter was hit by a pitch, stole second base, advanced to third on the passed ball and scored on an RBI triple two batters later. The top of the inning ended with another pop fly to Stonebraker at shortstop.
Rossville responded with a run of its own. With two outs down, Stonebraker doubled to center field. Longenecker followed her with a single up the middle, moving Stonebraker to third base. Mathews came up next and hit a groundball to the third baseman, who mishandled the ball. Stonebraker scored on the play and Mathews reached first base. The final out came on a fielder’s choice where Longencker tried to score from third on an infield groundball, but was thrown out on a close call at home plate.
Frontier came back and put two more runs on the board in the top of the fourth inning. A lead-off single led to a run after a fielder’s choice, a walk and an RBI single. The walked batter scored after another walk and groundball.
The Falcons added one run in each of the next two innings. A Rossville error allowed the runner on and the run in the fifth inning. Then a single, stolen base, error and passed ball allowed the lead-off batter to score in the sixth.
“In terms of defensively, we’re making a couple errors,” Szabela said. “Madison Stonebraker is right now playing shortstop. That’s somewhere she hasn’t been practicing at a lot. She just got moved there in the last few games so that’s new to her. Mallory Roberts did an amazing job at third and she’s a freshman, so that’s really exciting to see.”
In the seventh inning, Longenecker struck out the lead-off batter and got the second batter to ground out. The next batter was walked with the top of the lineup coming up next. The Falcons bats clicked in the inning and they scored five runs to blow the game open.
Bushfield gave Rossville one final highlight during the final half inning. She hit a line drive that went over the center fielder’s head and rolled back to the fence in Rossville’s very large field. She rounded third as the relay throw was coming in. The throw was a bit off target but Bushfield scored the in-the-park home run.
Rossville will be looking for its second win of the season when it travels to Faith Christian on 24.
“I would consider us a young team, both in terms of classes and in terms of experience,” Szabela said. “These girls are playing a lot more competitive softball than the last two years period. I’m very happy with what we’re doing and very proud of the girls.”