---- — By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
TURBOTVILLE -- Looking at a one-run game, Warrior Run coach Garth Watson knew his team had the ability to rally back and get the job done. His seniors, in particular, had done it in the past.
But for the Defenders things just seemed to not go their way Tuesday.
One error after another and missed opportunities started to snowball and, by day's end, Warrior Run went from trailing by one run after two innings to suffering a 13-1 rout in a lopsided loss to Central Columbia in a Heartland Athletic Conference-Division II matchup.
Unfortunately for the Defenders, it wasn't an April Fool's Day joke.
"If you're playing basketball, you put pressure on the offense. You press," said longtime Central Columbia coach Duane Ford, who picked up his 749th career win. "If you're playing softball and defense has the ball, you got to put pressure on the defense. Got to do things offensively to create situations."
Creating those situations is what Central Columbia (2-0, 2-0 HAC-II) did by taking advantage of seven Warrior Run (1-2, 1-2) errors. The Blue Jays plated three runs in the fourth and fifth innings before batting around the order in the sixth to score five more runs.
"It went real south in a hurry. It was just a snowball effect. Some girls you think 'Oh, man' (because) you're not used to seeing them commit errors. We committed some (Tuesday)," Watson said. "We dropped some fly balls (and) we left a couple balls drop between us, but it's just a lack of communication."
Emily McCracken came up huge for the Blue Jays with a perfect shot down the left-field line to bring in two runs before Marissa Shelhamer just beat out a throw on a grounder to bring McCracken home for a 5-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, a costly error on a throw to second base when no one was covering allowed two more runs to cross and build an 8-1 lead. Central's five runs in the sixth scored with the help of four hits.
The hits didn't come when needed for Warrior Run. On three separate occasions, the Defenders had runners in scoring position, but could not them safely get home. At least one runner was stranded in all but one inning, and four times Warrior Run left two on base. Three times they put the first two batters on before the next three got out.
Warrior Run had six hits in the loss, but only two players collected more than one.
"We did the same thing with Loyalsock (last week). We've been preaching that to them. It's a young team. We've been hitting them all well," Watson said. "Veterans are coming up in key situations and you got to capitalize. You got a girl in scoring position like that and a game like (this), you definitely have to capitalize."
The Blue Jays collected 12 hits in the win, including big outings from Kimmy Hollister (2-for-4), Rachel Davis (2-for-4), Megan Grozier (3-for-4) and McCracken.
All but two Blue Jays collected a hit in the win.
"It was a little slow starting, but then it picked up. We got a lot of output out of some people that we might not count on as much," Ford said, "and that's good when they can pick up the slack. Some of our better hitters were struggling a bit, and these other kids came in and picked up very nicely."
After Laura Bastian reached for Warrior Run with a double into center field, a throwing error by Central Columbia allowed the senior Defender to cross home plate to give Warrior Run a brief 1-0 lead.
The Blue Jays responded in the top of the second to take the lead they wouldn't relinquish after Rachel Davis reached on a double into right and Grozier followed with an RBI-single into shallow center.
Christina Yoder, pinch-running for Grozier, scored on a passed ball to put Central Columbia ahead, 2-1.
Warrior Run is back in action today at Hughesville.