After Cabrini and Ursuline split the District 9-4A softball crown in 2014, both have shockingly struggled to begin their respective seasons.
With both teams already approaching their loss totals from last season, Monday’s matchup between the two served as a district opener and a chance to turn around what has been a disappointing thus far.
Cabrini (4-4, 1-0) pounced on that opportunity, taking a 10-1 win on the road against Ursuline.
“We’re just really excited to get back on the field, because the weather really hasn’t cooperated recently,” Cabrini coach Shannon Austin said. “We were just worried about coming out and playing our game. Our offense hasn’t really come around yet, but as long as we keep doing the little things, it will get better.
“It only really matters how we’re playing at the end, so that’s what we’re focused on.”
Karli Lynn Perque was dominant for Cabrini, pitching a complete game, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out eight.
“I did OK. I always think I can do better, of course,” Perque said. “The offense definitely helped me out and backed me up a lot, so that’s good.”
The Crescents put the game out of reach in the fourth inning when Jessica Breitenback opened the inning with a walk and Alexis Groce followed with a single to left field.
From that point, the Crescents’ speed on the base paths took over as they scored two runs by forcing Ursuline (4-7, 0-1) into mistakes on fielder’s choices. After getting one more runner to score following an Ursuline wild pitch, Cabrini took a commanding 5-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
“We were really swinging the bats well the entire game,” Perque said. “Once we got on base, we were able to take advantage of some of their mistakes and put more runs on the board.”
The Lions had an opportunity to put some runs on the board in the third inning but were unable to get timely hits.
After Perque walked Maddie Avery to open the inning, Maggie Wise smacked a single into center field, and Taylor Cannon loaded the bases when she reached on a fielder’s choice.
Facing a bases-loaded situation with only one out, Perque forced Bailey Roe to pop out and escaped the Lions’ threat by striking out Gabrielle Brown, allowing the Crescents to maintain their 2-0 lead.
“That was really big,” Austin said. “We always want to see our team keep their composure, but most importantly, the pitcher has to make that a priority. (Perque) does that really well.”
The Lions’ mistakes early allowed Cabrini to score first. After allowing the first two Crescent batters of the game on base with a walk and a fielding error, Ursuline pitcher Emily Cotton threw two wild pitches, allowing Cabrini to score two runs.
She threw another wild pitch later in the inning before striking out Kaylin Hilburn to escape the inning.