WELLINGTON — There may come a time when the Black River softball team is on the right side of Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division games like the one with Wellington on Tuesday.
For now, however, the Pirates will have to endure losses like a 10-3 defeat to the Dukes.
“We just don’t have that clutch senior yet,” coach Larry Toth said. “I think we’re going to get better and better. They’ll have to continue to work together and think as a team. That’s sometimes tough to do. Overall, I think we were competitive.”
The Pirates (1-2, 1-1) did enough in certain situations to be in position to win, but time after time the Dukes (3-2, 2-0) extended innings or got out of jams.
Black River struck with a two-out double to center by Abbie Graves in the first inning. The lead looked like it would hold up until a fateful fourth, when the Pirates dug a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
Teddi Hardoby opened with a double for Wellington. Kendal Brasee followed with a sacrifice that turned into a run-scoring error, and by the time Tori Paramore ended the scoring with a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run, the Dukes had scored four unearned runs in a five-run frame that all but put away the game.
“We can’t afford to give up that big inning,” Toth said. “We don’t have that shut-down inning. I don’t have that smoker (of a pitcher) because we’re probably not going to strike out a lot of batters. That’s just the way it is, so we have to prevent, prevent, prevent the big inning. All we can do is keep everything simple.”
That was the problem against an experienced Wellington squad that took advantage of every crack Black River gave it. Six of the Dukes’ runs were unearned.
When Wellington put runners on, they came around. The Dukes only stranded three.
“We just got down on ourselves more once they got the lead,” Pirates third baseman Kennedy Petruzzi said. “We weren’t hitting as good as we wanted to. They got a good lead and we couldn’t come back from it. There really was nothing you could do.
“The way they were hitting, they were putting it in zones we couldn’t get to. Most people weren’t getting to the balls. (When we play them again today), we’ll just have to come out better. They’re dangerous, but we could beat them. We have to put the ball in play more, hit gaps and just hit better in general.”
Hitting didn’t seem to be much of a problem for the Pirates, who knocked around Peyton Regal (1-2) for 11 hits. Lydia Wacker (single, double, run), Sydney Simonson (2 singles, RBI, 2 runs), Abbie Graves (single, double, RBI, run) and Petruzzi (single, double, RBI) led the barrage.
Black River even showed some moxie by scoring all its runs with two outs. That said, the Pirates stranded seven, including five in scoring position, as Regal wriggled out of jams.
“We can fine tune and come back very well (today),” Toth said. “We have to play quicker. A lot of it is experience. I think we’ll get better as the season goes on.”
Wellington 10, Black River 3
BLACK RIVER 100 020 0 — 3 11 3
WELLINGTON 000 514 x — 10 10 0
WP — Peyton Regal (1-2) 7 innings, 3 earned runs, 2 strikeouts. LP — Lillie Wacker (1-2) 4 innings, 5 runs, 1 earned. Black River (1-2, 1-1) — Lydia Wacker single, double, run; Sydney Simonson 2 singles, RBI, 2 runs; Abbie Graves single, double, RBI, run; Kennedy Petruzzi single, double, RBI. Wellington (3-2, 2-0) — Tori Paramore home run, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Brooke Noss single, double, 2 RBIs; Teddi Hardoby double, RBI, run; Amy Green double; Mikayla Paramore 2 singles, RBI, 2 runs.