Two homers, 10 innings; no problem
Usually when a softball team surrenders two homeruns in one game it is in for a long night. But the Eudora Cardinal softball team just used it for dramatic purposes.
Eudora improved its record to 13-1 Tuesday, sweeping a doubleheader in Osawatomie 7-6 and 6-3.
The Cardinals were scheduled for a twin bill Thursday with Paola, but rain intervened. The week off allowed the Cards to rest a bit, but with rest comes the risk of rust and failure.
That's exactly what happened to Eudora through the first portion of game one.
Osawatomie jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. The Trojan center fielder delivered the big blow -- a two-run homerun in the third.
The home team added another run in the fourth, a 3-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Eudora was struggling to get things going.
"We were flat," coach Cara Kimberlin said. "Going into the fifth inning we weren't hitting the ball at all.
"I told them that the Paola game would be meaningless if you get a loss against the second-to-last team in the league."
The Cardinals rallied for three in their half of the fifth and then three more in the sixth, carrying a 6-4 lead into the seventh.
Cardinal ace Kelly Spence got the first two out on a fly out and a strikeout. She had the third batter down 0-2. But the Trojan center fielder hit a sharp grounder to sophomore Michelle Deluna at short. Deluna fielded the ball and fired to first. The throw sailed over the first baseman's head, allowing the runner to reach and the tying run to come to the plate.
"We probably had a lack of mental focus today," Kimberlin said. "We're not going to win games and stay on top of the league if we can't make the routine plays.
"We'll be working on defense tomorrow."
The following batter planted the ball over the fence in dead center, tying the game at 6-6.
The two teams filled the eighth and ninth frames with goose eggs.
Freshman Beth Folks led off the tenth with a walk. Fellow freshman Brynn Hamilton followed with a slow grounder to short. The Trojan shortstop was forced to hurry the play and overthrew first base.
When the dust settled, the Cardinals had runners at second and third with nobody out.
Junior Jamie Bowser matched Folk's effort with a base on balls, loading the bases for the top of the order.
Junior Kayla Moyer lined a base hit up the middle. But Hamilton and the Osawatomie shortstop collided. The umpire called Hamilton out for interference and returned Folks to third.
Junior Jacqueline Pyle reached on a fielder's choice, leaving the bases juiced with two outs.
When sophomore Kelsey Epperson came to bat, the scenario seemed eerily similar to the one she faced in Spring Hill -- the Cards on the verge of squandering runners in scoring position with the game on the line.
The results were eerily similar as well. Epperson hit a hard grounder toward short that escaped between the defender's legs. A run scored, giving the Cards the 7-6 lead.
Struggling junior Alissa Hamilton ended the threat and the inning with a pop-out to the catcher.
Again reminiscent of the Spring Hill contest, Spence faced the 3-4-5 Trojan batters. This time, though, Spence retired the side in order.
Moyer and Hamilton led the Cards with two hits apiece. Eudora had eight hits total.
Epperson, Pyle and Spence each had two RBIs.
The game marked Osawatomie's seventh one-run loss on the season. Eudora tried to help by committing seven errors.
Game two seemed to continue the sloppy theme. A pair of first inning errors led to an early 1-0 Trojan lead.
From that point on however, the Cardinals looked like a 13-1 team.
Eudora tallied two runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
Spence pitched every inning of the game and the doubleheader, striking out 15 on the night while allowing just three earned runs.
The hitting stars of the second game included sophomore Michelle Deluna, who went 2-for-4 with two runs, Brynn Hamilton who was 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs, and freshman Caitlyn Riser, who went 1-for-2 with three runs, scored.
"I don't think we overlooked them," Kimberlin said. "We just didn't play very well.
"We've got some breaks, but one of these nights our luck's going to run out and we're going to have to play softball."
The Cards face Louisburg on Thursday. Their makeup game with Paola takes place at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The team ends the regular season the following night at home against Gardner-Edgerton. The first pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.