Coach Bob Tabeling says his Trinity Lutheran softball team needs to get back to making the basic plays on defense and get hits in the clutch with runners on base like it did in starting the season 6-0.
“We can’t give teams four and five outs in an inning,” he said after the Cougars fell to Henryville 6-4 at home Tuesday.
“We got ourselves behind again, dug a hole early in the game. We’ve played Henryville three times. We’ve gotten down to them in the last two, and we’ve battled back and got it to a tie game both times, but we just haven’t been on the winning end of it.
“It was disappointing to see us get behind again, but I was extremely pleased with their energy getting themselves back in the game after being down 4-1 and we came back and tied it 4-4.”
The Cougars committed two errors in the first inning that gave the Hornets two unearned runs, and two more errors in the third left Trinity in a 4-0 hole.
Trinity got one of those runs back in the bottom of the third when Kamzi Gross hit into a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a hit by Bailey Tabeling and scored on a hit by Bailey Reynolds.
The top of the order again came through in the fifth inning when Gross walked, Tabeling singled and Reynolds singled to drive in Gross. Genesis Munoz singled to score Tabeling, and Reynolds scored on a throwing error to tie the game.
The Hornets used a hit batsman, a single and a triple to score twice in the top of the seventh.
The Cougars (6-4) had 11 hits with Reynolds going 4-for-4. Tabeling had three hits and would have had a fourth if not for her bat hitting a batted ball twice.
Coach Tabeling said, “(Reynolds) has been seeing the ball well, and she’s been hitting the ball. Bailey can hit for singles, and she can hit for power. She’s crucial to our lineup. She came through today, and we just need to string some more hits together.
“We had 10 total, and she had four of those. We’ve put Taylar (Hobbs) into pinch-hit twice, and she’s gotten hits. We need that because any time we get that hit in the bottom of the lineup and get back to the top, that’s the key to our team, that’s the key to any team.”
He said the team needs to do the little things that make the difference between winning and losing.
“We talked about just the fundamental things. If we need you to bunt to move runners and put the pressure on the defense, then do that. We just haven’t executed that part,” he said. “If there is one thing this season that we’re behind on, it’s that. It’s putting the ball in play, putting the pressure on the defense, scoring that runner from third base.”
Gross went the distance on the mound and allowed seven hits, three earned runs, didn’t walk any and had 13 strikeouts.
“She pitched well, and we did give up some unearned runs,” Tabeling said. “People are going to put the ball in play against her, especially when you’re playing somebody for the third time. Sometimes, we take that for granted with Kamzi because she pitches so well and is so consistent all the time. She does a great job for us. We got behind early, but she pulled through and kept throwing strikes.”
Trinity’s game at South Ripley on Thursday has been called off because of COVID-19, and the Cougar’s next game will be next Tuesday against West Washington.
The Cougars have lost four straight.
“Two of those (losses) were to 4A schools (New Albany and Jennings County), and two of those games have been close,” Tabeling said. “We’ve got to keep playing defense. We’ve got to make those routine plays. We’ve got to take away some of those extra outs that we’re giving, and then we’ve got to start putting the ball back in play. We struck out more in those four games than we did the first six. I think we’re pressing a little bit, and we just need to relax and put the ball in play.”