East Union works hard at not allowing their opponents the big inning, but in their division opener Thursday night, they gave up three, falling to Mantachie, 16-3, at home.
The Lady Urchins took an early 1-0 advantage with Rachel Elder plating Heather Dillard with her triple, and between the pitching of Alie Haynie and their defense, East Union held the Lady Mustangs hitless until the fourth inning. That is when things fell apart defensively for Andy Kirk’s squad.
Led by two big hits scoring three runs each, Mantachie stormed back to take a 7-1 lead, capped by a three-run triple by Reagan McFerrin. The Lady Mustangs followed that with back-to-back big hit innings, led by Alissa Patterson's grand slam in the sixth and a base clearing triple in the seventh. The former Ingomar standout finished with a team-high three hits.
“Got to make the routine plays, and we didn’t make many tonight,” Kirk said. “Our philosophy is to not give up the big inning, and we gave up three of them. You have to eliminate those, and if the lead off batter reaches base, chances are she’s going to score and you’re looking at giving up one, two at the max, not seven.”
East Union added runs in the fourth and fifth innings with Tianna Castillo scoring Elder on a single and Chelsea Kuhn bringing home Heather Dillard on her two-out double. Castillo and Dillard each finished with two hits to lead the Lady Urchins.
Haynie had the loss in the circle, but Kirk still credited her play in defeat.
“Alie did extremely well, well enough to have a chance to win,” he said. “Most pitchers couldn’t handle that. You just have to make routine plays, and we didn’t tonight.”
It is a quick turnaround for East Union, as they will host Tremont on Friday and travel to Calhoun City on Monday in another divisional match-up.
“We just have to come back and compete,” Kirk said. “That’s the thing about softball and baseball, you have to play every day and have a short memory. You have to come back, compete and make things happen. We didn’t do a lot of things that we thing we are good at tonight.”
With the loss, East Union drops to 11-4 (0-1).