Softball loss in extras leads the way in split with Baldwin Bulldogs
Eudora did everything as a team Tuesday night against Baldwin. In game one, the Cardinals all struggled as a team, eventually dropping a 5-4 decision in eight innings. Then, in game two, every player picked up her game and the Cardinals played a solid game all-around, pounding the Bulldogs 6-1 to earn a split of the doubleheader.
Eudora's performance in the opening game had coach Cara Kimberlin questioning her team's desire.
"We were lifeless and we looked like we didn't care to be here," Kimberlin said. "Shoot, this is the nicest day we've had to play on yet, you should enjoy being out here."
The Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the first, but their bats fell silent and they struck out for the first six outs of the game.
Senior pitcher Mackenzie Salzman allowed two runs in the bottom of the first and struggled to locate her pitches. One reason for the less than stellar start was that the mound was 43 feet from the plate instead of the regulation 40 feet. Kimberlin asked for a measurement in the bottom of the third inning and in the top of the fourth the game was paused to correct the error.
Still, Salzman failed to get into a groove and gave up two more runs in the fifth. Eudora responded with two runs in the sixth and the game went into extras after a scoreless seventh.
In the bottom of the eighth, Salzman walked a batter to load the bases and plunked the next batter with her very next pitch to bring in the winning run.
"I don't think we were mentally prepared, we kind of overooked them," sophomore catcher Evan Folks said.
"I've gotten to the point where I'm at a loss for words with some of them for their hitting because they're just repeating the same thing over and over," Kimberlin said. "The fortunate thing is, we bounced back."
In the nightcap, Salzman moved back to her familiar spot in the outfield and junior Miranda Cobell toed the rubber and dealt one of her best performances of the year.
While Cobell was mowing down the Bulldogs at the plate, the Cardinals' offense came to life. Salzman scored a pair of runs as Eudora used a consistent attack throughout the game to score six runs.
Kimberlin said her base runners even screwed up a few things but it all worked out for the best.
In the bottom of the seventh the game came to a thrilling, if not unusual, conclusion.
With one out and a runner on first, Cobell recorded a strikeout for the second out and Folks made a snap throw to first that caught the runner in a pickle between first base and second. The Bulldog base runner looked as if she would survive the rundown after the Cardinals lost control of the ball. But unbeknownst to the runner, Folks had run down to cover first and applied the tag just in time to end the game.
"She's just a gutsy, heads up ballplayer," Kimberlin said of Folks. "She's one of those kids that anticipates things before they happen."
"Nobody was really at first so I just ran down there and it was kind of a shock to get her out," said Folks. "I don't think I've seen a better ending so far this year."
A better ending for the Cardinals would be to close out the regular season with three victories, something Kimberlin preached to her team.
"Winning the next three games could be the difference between being first in your regional and fourth in your regional," she said.
The first of those final three games is at 4:30 Thursday at St. James Academy.
On Tuesday, Eudora will play host to De Soto in a doubleheader to wrap up the regular season. Regionals begin on May 12.