It took five days, but Cardington was able to close out a 2-1 win over Highland in softball on Tuesday.
The teams initially met on Friday, but the game was postponed by stormy weather in the top of the third inning with the Pirates holding a 2-0 lead. The two teams played their other regular season contest at Highland on Monday and then returned to Cardington to conclude their first game Tuesday.
While Cardington was unable to generate any offense Tuesday, only mustering one baserunner in four innings against Scot pitcher Stevie Asher, they were able to maintain an advantage in the game to pick up a key KMAC victory.
“It’s a good thing we had a two-run lead,” said Cardington coach Tod Brininger. “After we played Highland last night, we knew they’d be tough. We always play each other hard.”
The Pirates got that early lead in the bottom of the first inning Friday. After Mikayla Linkous got on base, she was brought home by a Riley Burchett double. Hailee Edgell then followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
After a wild pitch and a single by Genevieve Longsdorf, the Pirates had runners on the corners with no one out, but Highland was able to get out of that jam by picking off Edgell and then recording a strikeout and pop-up.
Over the remainder of the game, the Pirates only were able to get on base via free passes issued to Cadie Long in the second inning and Longsdorf in the third. Scot coach Shelly Hornsby was pleased with how Asher responded Tuesday after a slow start on Friday and a rough outing Monday.
“I am extremely proud of what she did and threw tonight,” she said. “She did a phenomenal job of changing up her pitches tonight.”
On Tuesday, neither team could generate any offense until Asher was able to help her own cause with a solo home run to open the sixth frame. Singles by Audrey Robinson and Emma West and a walk issued to Haven Farson would then load the bases with two outs, but Longsdorf was able to get out of that situation by inducing a groundout.
“She’s been incredible this year,” said Brininger of his freshman pitcher, who stepped into the position held by All-Ohioan Casey Bertke for the past few years. “She’s cool and collected, even when she doesn’t have her best stuff.”
Highland would have one more chance in the seventh inning, but after Asher reached base with two outs, the Pirates were able to close out the game and win by one.
Despite losing, Hornsby could find a lot of positives — in particular her team’s defensive effort.
“I was very satisfied with our defense tonight,” she said. “I think if it had been a fresh ball game, things would have been a bit different for us.”
With her team absorbing its first two losses of the season in its games with the Pirates, Hornsby also was able to figure out things they need to continue improving upon.
“The closeness and togetherness,” she said. “It showed on defense tonight and was a good step up. Keep working hard with the bats and improving there and keep working hard with each other.”
In the home team’s dugout, Brininger was happy that his team’s schedule has given them early-season contests with Highland, Fredericktown and Danville — three teams he views as very good.
“We need those tough games,” he said. “Those help us in the long run. It’s good to have high-pressure games to help build towards the future.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS