One inning, 5 runs. It gave the Marion High School softball team a lead they held onto tenaciously Friday against Moundridge, until a seventh-inning rally pushed the Lady Wildcats to a 6-5 comeback victory.
Offense has been hard to come by for the Lady Warriors, who are 0-4 on the season after dropping both games against Moundridge, the first by a score of 0-10. Their first-inning 5-run blitz in the second game was the first time Marion has been able to string together hits to push across runs, and Marion head coach Chad Adkins said it was a welcome sign of growth for his inexperienced team.
“We really competed well the second game,” Adkins said. “A lot of them are playing varsity for the first time. It’s not happening as fast as we would hope it would, but that’s just what it is.”
Shayla Kline, Montana Percell, Balee Shiplet, Jaydee Schafers, and Annie Whitaker all crossed the plate for the Lady Warriors in the bottom of the first, staking Marion to a 5-1 lead.
“We just reminded them what we’re doing, what we’re doing everyday, how you’re supposed to be swinging the bat,” Adkins said. “We’re hitting it better. Annie and Shayla and Jaydee hit the ball really well.”
Marion’s bats went cold again after that inning, leaving it to the defense and pitcher Megan Richmond to try to maintain the lead. Moundridge began to chip away with single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, and capped the comeback with a 2-run seventh.
“When you score 5 runs in the first inning, there’s still six innings left,” Adkins said. “We’re throwing one pitcher. That’s what we’ve got. She obviously gets a little tired, but she’s getting better at that. She has to start placing more of her pitches instead of relying all on heat.”
Adkins said he looks for the defense to improve to take some of the load off of Richmond.
“When there are balls hit that need to get outs, we need to get outs. We can’t keep her out on the mound for five and six and seven hitters in an inning because she’s pitching two full games,” Adkins said.
Adkins is encouraged by the signs he saw in the second game that some of the teaching taking place during practices is starting to find its way to the field.
“They’re starting to buy into the process,” Adkins said. “It’s inconsistent, but they’re getting better. They’re working hard — we’re just inexperienced.”
Marion picked up their first two wins of the season Tuesday against Trinity Catholic of Hutchinson, 10-5 and 15-0.
Marion returns home Thursday to face off against Ellinwood.