(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
ORAN -- Unable to overcome a 10-run first inning by the Notre Dame Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday, the Oran Lady Eagles fell 14-1 on Tuesday in five innings on the mercy rule.
"We've had a little bit of that problem with that throughout the year," Oran coach Wade Sanders said. "I don't know if it's nerves or jitters in that first inning or two, but we settled down and played four innings of good softball (after the first)."
Building their monstrous lead from the first at bat on, 10 consecutive Notre Dame hitters reached before scoring with leadoff hitter Brianne Sanders scoring the first and last runs of the frame while drawing a walk and a double.
By the end of the rally, the Lady Bulldogs collected a total of six hits and four walks with the Lady Eagles committing three errors.
"They had a lot of walks and made a few mistakes against a good team, that's what we feel like we are," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "We're going to take advantage of it and that's what we did."
After being shutout their first two trips to the plate, the Lady Eagles took advantage of a dropped third strike in the bottom of the third to plate their only run.
With her team down 12-0, Allie Cummins led of the inning alertly sprinting to first after swinging through a strike that sailed back to the backstop.
A fielder's choice by Anna Jones promptly moved Cummins to second base before Courtney Scheeter's bloop single down the right base line advanced her to third. On a ground ball to short by Addie Kielhofner, Cummins safely crossed the plate to break up the shutout.
Coming up in the bottom of the fifth after Notre Dame put together a two-run rally in the top of the frame to go up 14-1, Oran loaded the bases with one out trying to extend the game and avoid the 10-run mercy rule.
Following an initial Lady Eagle strikeout, Jones singled to shallow right, followed by a walk to Scheeter and a line drive by Kielhofner to load the bases. Before the Lady Eagles could push home a run, however, a fielder's choice and fly out to center field ended the game.
"Aside from the first inning our girls played pretty well," said Sanders. "It was a 4-1 ball game (after the first). The first inning with three errors and three bloop hits, they capitalized on the miscues and we had to fight back from there."
With three hits on the contest, Oran was led by Molly McConnell, Scheeter and Kielhofner, who had a single each.
In the Lady Bulldog's 14 hit performance, Sanders and Brandi Glastetter had three hits with both contributing a double in the process. Summer Burger had a pair of doubles and scored two runs.
Picking up the win, starting pitcher Katie Bond went the full five innings allowing one run on three hits and a walk while striking out three.
"She's been doing it awhile for us now," Graviett said of Bond. "She's been to the final four with us so she's battled tested. She's just going to stay in there, stay composed and she knows how to pitch with a lead.
"That's what she did today. She stayed in there and kept going at them."
If Oran wants a chance at redemption against Notre Dame (15-0), they won't have to wait long.
The two team will face each other on Saturday in the Jackson Invitation Tournament.
"We play them again Saturday and we hope to make up for our mistakes that we made today, learn from them and take it to them on Saturday," Sanders said.
Added Graviett, "I told (the girls) we have Oran again on Saturday so expect a different team. I know Oran is a lot better club than they showed today."
Now at 5-5 on the year, Oran will next host the Scott City Lady Rams tomorrow at 4 p.m.