Playing the Oakland Lady Patriots for the second time in four days and for the third time this season, the Warren County High School softball team was very familiar with its opponent.
The knowledge couldn’t produce a win however, as the Lady Pioneers couldn’t find any offense until the final inning and by that time it was too late. Warren County fell to Oakland 7-3 Tuesday night in Murfreesboro.
Warren County (10-8) hoped a good showing on Saturday against the Lady Patriots would carry over to Tuesday. The Lady Pioneers battled Oakland in the Border Battle over the weekend, losing 4-2.
Warren County looked up to the challenge of taking down the Lady Patriots on their own field by playing to a scoreless stalemate through two innings.
Though the Lady Pioneers were able to hold Oakland scoreless through two innings with solid defense behind starter Gabi Keith, it was missed scoring opportunities which proved to be costly.
In the second inning, Taylor Grissom got the Lady Pioneers’ first hit with a single. She was followed by a sacrifice bunt by Monica Lane, giving Warren County a runner in scoring position.
Morgan Frye followed with a deep shot to center field, but Oakland’s outfielders converged toward the fence. Coach David Upton elected to keep Grissom halfway in case the Lady Patriots came up with the catch.
The ball ended up hitting the fence, but coach Upton had to hold Grissom at third and Frye at second because of the speedy relay throw back to the infield.
Not scoring Grissom would prove to be costly. On the next at-bat, Chelsea Cope hit back up the middle. Grissom took a secondary lead, waiting for the throw to first. When it appeared Oakland would throw to first, Upton sent Grissom.
The Lady Patriots pitcher faked a throw to first though, and threw out Grissom at home. It was just the start of the Lady Pioneers running woes.
After Oakland took a three-run lead in the bottom of the third thanks to four hits, including a solo home run to begin the inning, Warren County once again lost a chance to score at the plate.
Sarah Jacobs began the fourth by drawing a walk, followed Grissom’s second single. Lane followed with a single up the middle and coach Upton decided to roll the dice and send Jacobs.
Jacobs never had a chance, as a perfect throw from the outfield nailed the junior by three steps at home. Frye would follow with a single to load the bases, but two straight groundouts to the pitcher kept the goose egg on the board for Warren County.
The two base-running blunders were something coach Upton took full responsibility for following the game.
“I didn’t have my best game. I tried to be aggressive and it came back to hurt us,” said Upton. “Those are situations where you look like a genius if they score, but they didn’t.”
The wheels began to fall off in the fifth and sixth innings as Oakland increased its lead from three to seven. The Lady Patriots got to Keith, getting seven hits in the span of two innings.
The Lady Pioneers defense also had trouble getting outs, as a throwing error by shortstop Lauren Wilkinson allowed one run to score.
Wilkinson would redeem herself in the seventh inning to bring the score back to respectability. After Cope scored the team’s first run on a bad throw by Oakland when Peytan Hall hit back up the middle.
Hall stood on second when Wilkinson stepped up and continued her recent power surge. Wilkinson hit her fifth home run, sending a shot into the road behind the left-field fence.
It would conclude the scoring for Warren County as the Lady Pioneers were unable to continue the late-inning rally.
The Lady Pioneers hoped to bounce back last night and end a two-game losing streak in Coffee County. Results from Warren County’s game against the Lady Raiders were unavailable at press time.
The Lady Pioneers will continue their busy week today when they begin pool play in The Duff Tournament in Cookeville.
Warren County plays two games today, beginning with a matchup with York Institute at 4 p.m. The Lady Pioneers will take the field again at 5:30 p.m. against Monterey.
Pool play will conclude with a 10:30 a.m. game Saturday morning against Gordonsville. Warren County will participate in a single-elimination tournament on Saturday as well. Check in Sunday’s issue of the Southern Standard for details from this weekend’s games in Cookeville.