Errors and allowing a team to score with two outs can foil any team’s chance at winning a game.
Unfortunately, the Portage softball team fell victim to both Tuesday night as the Warriors lost 4-2 to Stoughton in a Badger Conference crossover game at Kiwanis Field in Portage.
“We got to make plays, get outs and hit strikes, and tonight we didn’t do that consistently,” said Portage co-head coach Connie Wampler.
The Warriors committed four errors and allowed the Vikings to score all of their runs with two outs, including a pair in the top of the first.
After a lead off out, senior Morgan Neuenfeld hit an infield single and freshman Kailey Hammersley was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base.
Following a fielder’s choice by senior Madisyn Robinsion moved the pair, junior Molly Skonning hit an RBI single to score Neuenfeld and Hammersley scored on a wild pitch, giving Stoughton (1-8 overall) a 2-0 lead.
In an early hole, Portage (7-3) answered back in the bottom of the frame with two runs of its own.
Sophomore Joia Simonson hit a one-out RBI bloop single and senior Alli Walker added a two-out RBI double to knot the game at 2-2.
Portage nearly had a 3-2 lead, but Simonson was thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball.
Unfortunately, the tie didn’t last long as the Vikings took control back in the top of the second.
After a pair of strikeouts to open the inning, sophomore Lela Brashi walked and sophomore Holly Brickson reached on an error to put two runners on.
Looking to get out of the jam, Walker got Neuenfeld to hit a ground ball to shortstop but Portage junior Nicole Weiss was able to secure the throw at third, allowing Brashi to score and put Stoughton up 3-2.
Trailing again, the Warriors began to struggle at the plate against Hammersley, as the right-hander retired the next 12 batters in order.
“She got us swinging at pitches we don’t really want to swing at,” said Wampler, as the Warriors flew out in eight of the 12 outs.
Portage co-head coach Amy Zeihen added: “I think we just need to settle in and not press. We’re able to score and can put runs on the board, so I don’t think we should have to have a lot of pressure and they maybe had that in their heads tonight.”
Aiming to pad their lead, the Vikings added an insurance run in the top of the fifth for a 4-2 lead, thanks in part to a Warriors error, and were able to keep Portage off the board once it got out of its funk.
The Warriors eventually got things going offensively, putting a pair of runners on base in the sixth and a runner on third in the seventh, but were unable to score both times.
“We had our chances, we just didn’t string hits together,” said Zeihen. “I think we came ready to play and just missed some plays, and you can’t make that many mistakes and stay in the game.”
While the Warriors struggled defensively, Walker shined, striking out 15 and allowing just two earned runs on five hits to go with her RBI double.
Even though the loss keeps the Warriors four games over-.500, Wampler knows the Warriors need to tighten things up with a pair of Badger North Conference games against Reedsburg and Sauk Prairie looming.
“We need to be consistent with our at bats, consistent with our throws and decision making, and settle back into how we should be playing,” she said.
STOUGHTON 4, PORTAGE 2
Stoughton 210 010 0 – 4 5 0
Portage 200 000 0 – 2 3 4
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) – S: Hammersley (W, 7-3-2-5-4). P: Walker (L, 7-5-2-3-15).
Leading hitters – S: Skonning 2x4. P: none. 2B – Walker.
Follow Sean Davis on Twitter @SDavis_PDR.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!