The St. James softball team (6-4, 2-2 FRC) hosted Union for a Four Rivers Conference matchup on Thursday, Sept. 7. The Lady Tigers struggled in the field and had to face some great pitching in a 21-4 loss.
St. James struggled defensively all night long, committing a total of seven errors in the loss. Those errors led to a total of 12 unearned runs to the Lady Tiger pitchers. Kayla Hamilton started for St. James and pitched three innings to take the loss. She allowed 14 runs, but only six of those runs were earned. She allowed 11 hits, several of which came on infield singles, and one walk. Audrey Marcee came in to pitch and allowed seven runs, three earned, on three hits and a walk.
Kelsie Hardester started for Union and was nearly perfect in three shutout innings. Georgiana Bray came in to pitch the final two innings of the mercy rule ended game, allowing four runs.
The Union offense was quiet for the first inning before exploding for nine runs in the second and five runs in the third to take a 14-0 lead. Marcee came in in the fourth inning to hold them to just one base runner before the St. James offense finally woke up. The first run came when Mikaela Donnelly roped a single into left field, which the left fielder bobbled to allow a run to score and put Donnelly on second base. She then stole third base and scored on a groundout by Alyssa Doris.
Union scored seven runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach, but St. James added two more runs in the bottom of the inning before the game came to an end. Scout Paulus drove in one and another scored on an error. The Lady Tigers recorded a total of four hits in the loss.
Union is a team that will take a mile if you give them an inch and St. James provided several inches with their defensive issues. This is the second game in a row where the Lady Tigers lost by 17 runs and head coach Brad Purvis just wants them to put these games in their rear view mirror and focus on getting back to playing better defense.
"You have to have short term memory. There's nothing we can do about these past two games, we just move forward," said coach Purvis. "Sometimes you hit a rough patch in the season. Just like sometimes on the offensive side of the ball you go through a hitting slump, I truly believe you can go through fielding slumps as well, I speak of that from experience. The routine plays these last two games have kind of cost us a little bit and when you play two solid teams like a Sullivan and a Union, you can not afford to do that."
Prior to these past two losses, St. James had strung together six wins in a row, including two within the Four Rivers Conference. Coach Purvis wants his kids to remember that they are capable of winning ball games despite the rough patch.
"In our postgame talk I told them they've won six games to this point in the season and they didn't win those by luck," said the St. James head coach. "It's just putting together a good seven inning ballgame. We're going to have to move forward. That's all you can do."
The Lady Tigers had the night off on Friday before a busy day on Saturday, Sept. 9 where they'll play three games in the Cuba Tournament.