The St. Thomas More softball team’s losing streak continued when it dropped its fifth consecutive game 12-3 to Cecilia at its home ballpark Tuesday.
Cecilia (15-6, 6-2 District 5-4A) put up a combined nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull away from the Cougars (9-9, 5-2) and earn its second victory of the season against the district opponent.
All nine members of the Bulldogs’ starting lineup reached base on the contest, as eight recorded at least one hit and seven tallied runs.
“We put the ball in play, that’s the main thing,” Cecilia coach Cody Champagne said. “Pretty much everybody in the lineup put the ball in play, and that made a big difference.”
Cecilia took its first lead of the contest with two runs in the top of the first inning, but St. Thomas More responded with a pair of runs of its own to tie the contest at 2-2.
The score remained the same until the fourth inning when Cecilia put up four two-out runs thanks to a bases-loaded single by left fielder Jenna Allemond followed by a two-RBI triple from Kacey Latiolais.
Champagne said the Bulldogs stayed composed, leading to the big inning.
“We have a mature group of girls,” Champagne said. “If they make a mistake, they know they have another at-bat. Sometimes younger girls don’t understand that.
“They just stuck with it through the end and we had a big inning.”
A slew of errors aided the Bulldogs in the fifth inning, as St. Thomas More committed three errors and gave up five unearned runs.
Cougars coach Andria Waguespack said poor fielding has become an unfortunate trend for her young team.
“We were terrible defensively,” Waguespack said. “That’s been our M.O. We struggle with making basic plays, and we have to be better. We have to be more consistent. In this league when you play decent competition like (Cecilia), if you don’t make basic plays, you’re not going to win the ballgame. That’s the bottom line.”
Defense only made up a portion of St. Thomas More’s problems. Cecilia virtually negated the power of St. Thomas More junior catcher and leadoff hitter Bailey Hemphill, tossing her 16 consecutive balls in order to prevent her from putting the ball in play and providing a spark for the Cougars.
St. Thomas More also struggled bringing baserunners all the way around, leaving 10 stranded in the game.
The Cougars had a chance to strike back in the bottom of the fifth inning when its first three batters reached to load the bases. But a 1-2-3 double play followed by a groundout left them fruitless in the promising inning.
Waguespack said her team has reached a crossroads where it needs to toughen mentally in order to finish the season where it wants.
“I have always believed that the harder you work, the luckier you get,” Waguespack said. “We have to be able to step up. … We have youth and inexperience, but that’s just an excuse. We’re (18) games into the season. It’s time. At some point we have to make a decision that we’re going to get it done or we’re going to struggle through the last 21/2 weeks.”