One thing has plagued the Columbus East softball team so far this season: giving away early leads.
That proved to be the case in Saturday’s doubleheader against Greensburg. The Olympians fell 15-7 in the opener and suffered an 11-9 loss in the second game.
East saw itself behind 7-1 at one point early on in the opening game and was behind 10-1 after three innings in the second game.
“We fought back nicely but we still have to find a way to stop the bleeding early,” East coach Rusty Brummett said. “We have to make the plays when we need to but we do have some positives to take away.”
One of those positives was that the Olympians (0-5) almost made a comeback in the second game with an eight-run fourth. Elyse Babb hit two singles and drove in two runs. Hayley Smalley added a double and a single to drive in two more runs. Kaitlin Wagner, Erin Tharp and Caitlyn Williams each produced RBI-singles in the inning. The Olympians also took advantage of the Pirates’ five errors in the inning to help cut it to 10-9.
However, the early deficit proved too much to overcome as the bats cooled off the rest of the game.
“I just told them that we have to start chipping into the lead by getting in a run or two or three, then things will start to build up, but I didn’t think they do it all in one inning,” Brummett said. “When they made the errors, we did not let them get away with it. We punished them for it, which is nice to see.”
After East gave up 10 runs the first three innings, it shut the Pirates down by allowing only one run during the last four innings. The pitching of Smalley was a big part of the reason. After starting in the opener, she showed no signs of fatigue and came on in relief in the second game, allowing only three hits and recording three strikeouts to finish the game.
“She came in and made the pitches for us,” Brummett said. “I wanted to give her a bit of a break after having played five games in five days. However, we decided the make the change, and it worked out pretty well for us.”
The focus for the Olympians now will be finding a way to prevent surrendering early leads.
“The key for us is that we have to just take those last four innings (of Game 2) and build off of that,” Brummett said. “I don’t believe in moral victories because it is still a loss, but we beat them 8-1 the last four innings. Now, in order to win, we have to work on keeping that intensity going for all seven innings.”