YELLOW SPRINGS — Whether it was the blustery wind, or just bad control of their pitches, Yellow Springs had dug itself a deep hole and couldn’t quite get out of it, in a 21-13 home loss to Thurgood Marshall, April 11 at Gaunt Park.
The thing Bulldogs coach Jim DeLong liked most about the game was that his team never gave up.
Yellow Springs roared out to a 5-1 lead after the first inning of play, but then Marshall capitalized on six hits and eight walks to score 13 runs in its half of the second. The Cougars sent 17 batters to the plate in the inning.
A long, drawn-out onslaught like that can drain the enthusiasm out any team, and pitcher Abegayle Florence at times had to stop and take a deep breath to get refocused. But throughout the ordeal, her infielders — especially second baseman Rebecca Spencer, who would say things to get Florence to smile — were there to offer much needed support.
DeLong loved that.
“We had a bad second inning, one that would see a lot of teams give up after that,” DeLong said. “But this is a young team. I’ve got seven freshmen and two sophomores on this team, so they’re learning. And they didn’t give up. Instead, they started getting some enthusiasm, then they started making some plays, and the pitcher starts pitching better … that was really nice to see from each of them.”
Springs yielded four more runs to the Cougars in the third inning, to give Marshall an 18-9 lead, but then Florence gave up fewer walks and held the visitors to three runs the rest of the way. DeLong was limited to a roster of nine players for Thursday’s game, due to some school committments his other players had to attend.
Bulldogs batters reached base on nine walks, two hit batsmen and a couple of Cougars fielding errors. Spencer got on base on four of her five at-bats, scoring four runs, and she smacked a double in the seventh inning. Lily Rainey drove in two Bulldogs runs, Zoe Lafferty scored three times, Florence scored twice and drove in another run, and Ava Schell also scored a couple runs in the loss.
“I was really proud of how they battled back and didn’t get disappointed in themselves,” DeLong added. “This is my eighth year of coaching here, and this is by far the most enjoyable year I’ve experienced. I think it’s because they’re mostly freshmen and they are all eager to learn the game. It’s been a lot of fun this season.”
Marshall’s Callie Hester almost hit for the cycle in the Cougars win. Hester went 4-for-7 at the plate with three singles, a double and a triple, three runs scored and another four runs driven in. The Cougars drew 18 walks and had 14 hits in the win, and are now 4-2 this season. They will play next on Saturday, April 13 on the road against Columbus East.
Cougars coach Tony Duncan said it’s been a long week for his players.
“We’ve played each day this week, so a lot of girls are tired. My pitchers are definitely tired,” he said. “We had a close (Dayton Public Schools) league game that we came back to win in the last inning on Wednesday, and this was another good contest after that. So I’m really extremely proud of how the girls are sticking to it, especially after a full week of games.”
Yellow Springs (3-3) has a day to rest, then they’re back in action on Saturday, April 13 with a double header at Trotwood-Madison. The first game is scheduled for a noon start, with Game 2 set to start at 2 p.m.