Columbus East hammered a dozen hits in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday at Greensburg, but costly miscues hurt the team down the stretch, enabling the Pirates to rally for a 9-8 victory.
The comeback followed a 5-1 win in the opening contest for the hosts, sending the Olympians home with an overall 2-5 mark and leaving coach Sonny Stahl frustrated.
“I’m disappointed. We should have won that game,” Stahl said after watching his team’s large lead melt away. “We just had too many errors — mentally and physically — and they killed us.”
After being limited to four hits in the entire first game, East surpassed that in the opening inning of the second battle by ripping off five straight hits and plating five runs.
Erin Tharp and Elyse Babb got things rolling with consecutive infield singles, and then both scored after Hayley Smalley drilled a double down the left-field line. Kaitlynn Dye followed with a run-scoring double of her own before scoring on a single by Kaitlin Wagner.
The Olympians kept the attack rolling with Caitlyn Williams drawing a walk and advancing the bases along with Dye after Moriah Herbert registered a one-out sacrifice bunt. Kaytlin Huffman, who represented the ninth batter to come to the plate for East, grounded out to end the inning, but not before Wagner scored on a botched pickoff throw to third.
Tharp, who paced the Olympians with three hits, returned with another infield single in the second inning. She moved to third after Dye’s second hit of the contest, and then crossed home plate after Wagner connected on her second hit.
Trailing 6-0, the Pirates registered their first run in the bottom of the second, but made perhaps even a smarter move by replacing starting pitcher Alli Phillips with Haylee Owens, who pitched the entire opening game. The switch appeared to pay off for Greensburg as East managed just one hit over the next three innings, while allowing the Pirates to knot the contest at 6-6 after five.
The hosts pulled to within 6-5 after erupting for four runs in the bottom of third, and then tied the game when sophomore Brittney Biltz cranked a solo homer over the center-field fence.
Undaunted by the situation, the Olympians reclaimed control in the top of the sixth when Babb drilled a one-out triple. She scored moments later following a single by Smalley.
Stahl’s crew appeared to have the momentum back and in position to continue to cause more damage, but the Pirates quickly turned the tables by recording a double play on defense and then plating a trio of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Smalley, who went the distance in the pitching circle for East, got the first Greensburg batter to ground out, but was then hampered by back-to-back walks, followed by back-to-back fielding miscues. When the smoked cleared, the Pirates had managed to score three runs without a hit.
Looking to answer back one more time, East cut the lead to 9-8 after Williams recorded a one-out hit, moved to second on Herbert’s two-out walk, and advanced to third on a passed ball. She then came home on another botched pickoff play by the Pirates.
Unfortunately for East, the Olympians rally fell short after Huffman’s quick-sinking fly ball held up just enough for Greensburg’s left fielder to haul it in and complete the sweep.
“We cannot continue to make the mistakes we’re making,” Stahl said. “We gave this game away.”
Erin Tharp took the loss in the opener for East. Kaitlin Wagner had a double.