Perry’s softball team had to wait a week to bounce back from its season-opening loss to Madison, but it was worth the wait.
The Pirates scratched and clawed their way to a 6-4 nonconference win at Mayfield on Saturday.
“It kind of felt like we were playing the first game again,” said Perry coach Joe Medlen of the week layoff between games. “We’re young, so for them to bounce back and play well, I was really satisfied with how we played. We let our guard down a little bit at the end but they’ll learn.”
Perry scored two runs in the top of the third inning on a hit and an error.
Calli Thompson started the rally with a one-out single and reached second on an error. Mia Ward then ran for Thompson and moved to third on a groundout. Elle Infalvi then reached and scored on an error that gave Perry a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates added another run in the fifth when Emma Webb drew a leadoff walk and scored on Margeaux Robinson’s groundout.
A string of hits led to three insurance runs in the top of the sixth.
Emma Pietrzak drew a leadoff walk and stole second. She scored on Sydney Moon’s single. Moon worked her way to third and Lilly Agostine battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. She fouled off six pitches before finally earning the free base.
Mayfield pitcher Emily Graves allowed four earned runs on four hits. She struck out eight but walked four in 5 2/3 innings.
“The biggest thing I told the girls after the game is they had a lot of quality at bats,” Medlen said. “In five innings, she threw 142 pitches and that’s exactly what we want to do. We really focus on quality at bats. Right there, we knocked their No. 1 pitcher out because we had quality at bats and we kept fighting.”
Moon stole home and Agostine advanced to second and then Faith Hartman singled to center to score Agostine.
That three-run inning was important as Mayfield scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth and then added two more in the seventh.
Moon led the Pirates with two of their five hits.
“The key to the offensive success is to have quality at bats,” Moon said. “Today, we had many people in our lineup that made the pitcher throw at least 10 pitches during their at bat, which allowed us to time up the pitches. My approach was to go up to the plate and make contact. I always go into the at bat with a relaxed bat and mindset. If I am behind in the count, I knew I need to swing at anything remotely close to a strike. Both of my hits were when I was behind in the count.”
The week off felt like an eternity for the Pirates, who were eager to bounce back from the narrow loss to Madison on opening day.
“It made today’s win much sweeter since we have had a full week of practices,” Moon said. “Every day, we worked on some of our weaknesses by going over defense of plays and also doing different hitting drills to make our swings faster and more effective.”
Hartman went the distance in the circle for the Pirates.
She allowed three earned runs on seven hits and she struck out seven.
“Faith did really well pitching and our defense, again, for not playing in a while, they played exceptionally well as we didn’t have any errors,” Medlen said. “(Hartman) did a nice job and Sid coming through with some big hits to get us moving in the right direction. Elle had some nice hits, too.”
The Pirates aren’t likely to go a week without playing again as they have seven games scheduled in the next six days.
Medlen hopes that string of games leads to more success at the plate.
“Next week, they’re going to get a lot of experience,” Medlen said. “I think will really help that they’re going to see a lot of live pitching and some good pitching. As coaches, we need to see that. The lineup may need to be tweaked and adjusted. I think the more they’ll see next week, it’s going to really help them. They really need to see some live pitching. As soon as we get locked into that, maybe by midweek next week, I think we’ll start hitting the ball. We’re close. The girls are having good swings and good at bats.”