March 19th, 2019

Mercy Softball Wins Season Opener 7-3

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 


Mercy Softball Wins Season Opener 7-3
File photo by Conor Revell

Mercy’s season debut ended in victory, as the Jaguars defeated CAL 7-3 Tuesday night. The Jaguars scored three runs in the first inning and held off a late Centurion rally to open the year 1-0.

“Every run is important,” said Mercy head coach Greg Meiners. “We realized we’re going to have to score more runs this year. Mentally, it’s important to get an edge for your pitcher.”

Senior Ryan Ann Hobbs put the Jaguars on the board early with an RBI single in the top of the first. Three batters later, Mackenzie Newton knocked in two with a one-out single, giving Mercy a 3-0 edge.

It remained 3-0 until the fourth when Taylor McGowen scored on a fielder’s choice. In the fifth inning, the Jaguars added more insurance with a sacrifice fly that scored Hobbs to make it 5-0. Mercy pitcher Kaitlynn Gregory threw four scoreless innings and struck out three.

“Our enthusiasm is good,” said Meiners. “This is a totally different team. We had a Division-I pitcher (Lexi Ray) last year. We’re going to do it by committee this year and see how it goes.”

CAL got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Nicole Marker scored on a passed ball. The Centurions tacked on two more in the seventh on the strength of a Lo Simpson RBI triple and Haley King RBI single. CAL had the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate, but Abby Simeon recorded back to back outs to preserve the win for Mercy.

In all, the Centurions stranded eleven batters on the day.

“When you leave eleven runners on base, you don’t win many games,” said CAL head coach Kyle Mullin. “I think we came back after the first inning. The wind was blowing in real heavy in the first, and we were playing too deep, so the ball was dropping in front of them, but after that, we adjusted, and we played pretty well after that.”

CAL enters the season as one of the youngest teams in the area. The Centurions have just one senior on their roster, Butler signee Lo Simpson, and much of their roster is comprised of freshmen and sophomores.

“We’re just looking to improve to get over the mental mistakes,” said Mullin. “We need to stop the mental mistakes so we can improve as we’re going through.”

Mercy is just two years removed from an appearance at the state tournament. But before the Jaguars can think about that, they need to find out what their team is made of.

“I’m looking to see who is confident and aggressive at the plate. I feel confident in our defense. I have to see who thinks they can handle good pitching.”

The Jaguars return to action Thursday at home against Butler while the Centurions visit Meade County on Friday.

 

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