By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
Editor’s Note: This story will appear in the March 22 edition of the Miami Valley Today
COVINGTON —- Edison State Community College softball coach Dan Cain was a lot happier with the finish than start Wednesday as the Chargers played their home opener at Covington High School for the second straight year.
And after an 8-4 loss to the Wilmington College JVs in the opener, Edison bounced back with a 10-2 win by run rule in six innings in the nightcap.
“We are a good fielding team,” Cain said. “The errors and mistakes in the opening game. That is not us.”
It was particularly costly in the second inning, when Edison turned what should have been a one or two run inning into a 5-0 lead for Wilmington.
Shelby Raby led off the inning for Wilmington with a single and the ball rolled all the way to the fence with Raby finishing on third.
That was followed by a fielder’s choice and a squeeze bunt, where Edison did not record an out.
On a single to right field, Edison had a force at second, but never made a throw there.
Makenna Montgomery brought the second run of the inning in on a fielder’s choice.
“We had some mental mistakes in that inning,” Cain said. “We have a squeeze bunt where the catcher doesn’t say a word and the third baseman is standing straight up. We had a play where we had a force at second and the rightfielder doesn’t throw there. Part of the problem is we haven’t played together much yet.”
Je’Taysia Jones then made Edison pay with a three-run homer to cap the rally.
“The inning should have been over before she ever came to bat,” Cain said. “We can’t make mistakes like that. You take that inning away, we are right in the game.”
After trailing 7-0, the Chargers scored four unanswered runs, but that was as close as they could get.
Wendy Hawk’s drive to deep center field scored two runs in the fourth, while in the sixth, Lexie Long and Rayna Brownlee executed a double steal to score one run and Hallie Snyder had a RBI single.
One highlight for Edison in the opener was the double play combination of second baseman Brownlee, shortstop Long and first baseman Tackett.
They turned two double plays to get out of jams.
The first went from Brownlee to Long to Tackett. On the second, Brownlee tagged a runner going to second and threw to Tackett to complete the double play.
“We have been good on double plays all year,” Cain said. “We had four even before this game.”
“I didn’t feel like we played the way we could the first game,” Cain said. “I didn’t think we had the focus we needed. I told them they needed to get focused for the second game.”
The Chargers did exactly that.
Tori Smith and Maddy Collier combined on a five-hitter and Edison scored four runs each in the second and third to put the game away.
Lexi Romine and Snyder had pitched in the opening game.
“All four of our pitchers are pretty similar,” Cain said. “Maddy (Collier) probably relies a little more on off-speed pitches.”
Back-to-back doubles by Maddie White and Snyder sparked a four-run second inning and Adrianna Hicks had a single and scored on a double steal.
Hicks came up big in a four-run third inning.
With Edison leading 5-0 after Romine had singled and Snyder had singled and Brownlee drew a bases-loaded walk, Hicks came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.
She drilled a bases-clearing double to make it 8-0.
“That just shows you all nine hitters in our order can hit the ball,” Cain said. “We want to score in every inning.”
Wilmington got two runs in the fifth to extend the game, before Edison scored two runs without a hit in the sixth to end it. Long and Romine had fielder’s choices to end it. Romine had a double earlier in the game.
“This is a great group of girls,” Cain said as his team prepares for home doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday with a 5-3 record. “It is really a lot of fun to coach them. We have some really good teams coming in this weekend, but I feel like we can play with anyone on our schedule.”
As they showed with their response in the second game Wednesday.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org