The most consistent part of the Marion High School softball team’s game this season has been its inconsistency. Some games are diamonds, some games are stone.
The perfect illustration of that came April 14 against Bennington in Marion. The Lady Bulldogs were winless on the season when they arrived.
Marion’s bats disappeared in the first game, while Bennington’s got hot. Weak fielding contributed to two 4-run innings, and the Lady Bulldogs ended the game with 2 runs in the sixth inning, winning 10-0.
“That was the worst we’ve ever played, including the first day of practice. At times we looked like we didn’t even belong out there,” Marion head coach Chad Adkins said.
“I think a lot of it has to do with our bats. We didn’t hit, we put zero pressure on them, so they didn’t have to do anything in the field,” Adkins said.
The second game was exactly the opposite. Marion erupted for 10 runs in the first three innings, scattering hits all over the field.
“They had a different pitcher, but she wasn’t any better or any less, and then they put the same pitcher from the first game into the second game, and we shelled her, too,” Adkins said.
Pitcher Megan Richmond quieted the Bennington bats in the second contest, blanking the Lady Bulldogs with pitches that got stronger as the game progressed. The game was called after the top of the fifth inning, with Marion chalking up a 10-0 win.
“She gets stronger as she throws, which really doesn’t make sense to me. She definitely gets in a groove, but she gets stronger,” Adkins said. “She was throwing the ball harder at the end of the second game than she was at the beginning of the first game, and that I don’t understand.”
Adkins hope that strength will be present from the opening pitch soon.
“When it comes time to regionals, we’ve only got one game,” Adkins said.
Richmond and Montana Percell led the offensive outburst in the second game with 3 RBIs each. Adkins said Percell has at the plate what the team is seeking overall — consistency.
“She hit the ball well. She’s probably got the sweetest swing that we have, she just does things right. That’s why she’s the most consistent right now,” Adkins said.
Adkins pointed out that Richmond and Percell are the two players on the team that are most heavily involved in softball during the summer. That extra playing time plays a big role in developing consistency during the short high school spring season.
“The teams that are really good, the majority of their girls are playing 50 games in the summer time. That’s not playing rec ball, they’re playing on a team and going out and playing games,” Adkins said.
“I’m not a huge proponent of all the extra time we’re asking of the kids in the summer time. I think kids need some time to chill and relax. But if you want to be competitive, it’s what you have to do,” Adkins concluded.
While Adkins is still perplexed at the stark contrast between the two games against Bennington, he credited the team for coming together in the second game.
“They don’t give up. I don’t ever get the feeling they’re going to lay over,” Adkins said.
The Lady Warriors were in action again Tuesday at Inman. Adkins stressed the critical nature of those games as the season winds down.
“We have to win two games. We’ve got to give ourselves some confidence and momentum coming into the double-headers we have at the end of the year,” Adkins said.
The first of those doubleheaders is Friday when Marion hosts Ell-Saline.