Slow Start Dooms Mustangs


VEEDERSBURG- A slow start was the end of the story for Fountain Central’s softball team in a 7-5 loss to Clinton Prairie on Monday.

The first six hitters for the Gophers reached base and scored in the top of the first inning, and that margin was too much for the Mustangs to overcome.

The win moves CP to 5-8 on the season while FC drops to 11-9.

“First of all, Clinton Prairie is the best 5-8 team I’ve seen in a long while, but it was all the things that for us that adds up to a loss,” Mustangs coach Ric Walke said. “The slow start, the unearned runs, the strikeouts, the lack of hits basically until the last inning. We beat Attica last Thursday with a walk off, but we have been idle since. There was prom Friday and we gave the team the weekend off because we have five games this week. We were a little flat at the start.”

That monster schedule includes non-conference home games on Thursday and Friday of this week plus a conference double header on Saturday.

There were bright spots for sure, starting with Olivia Jones at the plate.

The freshman, who was also the starting pitcher, hit her second homer of the season in the second inning.

Adjusting nicely to moving to the nine-spot in the batting order, she added her fourth double of the season in a seventh-inning rally, which saw the home team score three times and actually have the game-tying batter at the plate.

“We have been talking about moving her to that spot,” Walke said. “Having her there sets the table for the top of the order, and she has been hitting the ball hard.”

That top of the order produced the other four hits in what was a light-hitting day by FC standards.

Jacquelynn Weber singled and scored in the first, while Zoe and Kearney Foxworthy DeJournett laced back-to-back doubles in the seventh. Sami Krout had an RBI single in the first and drove in a run by reaching on an error in the last at-bat. Four of the six Mustangs’ hits were for extra bases.

“We did have the good rally at the end, and had the extra-base hits,” Walke noted, “but we were undisciplined at the plate. We struck out 10 times, which is as many as we had the last four games.”

The coach also noted that the home run by Jones is the 22nd of the season for the team, which is a new record, and that Kearney Foxworthy-DeJournett’s hit extends her hitting streak to 11 games.

He wasn’t as happy with the three errors defensively that all led to runs for CP.

“Our effort was there all game,” Walke said. “Lillian (Bennett) came in and pitched five really good innings, we made good contact on the ball late. We just have to come back fighting and work hard, because we have four games in three days at the end of the week.”

Bennett, who has stepped into the role of the No. 1 pitcher with the season-ending foot injury to Kacey Kirkpatrick, allowed one hit in her five innings. The freshman threw only 56 pitches, walking three.

As noted, there are four more games this week for the Mustangs, starting with a Thursday game against Sheridan. Friday it is Faith Christian and then the WRC double header with Parke Heritage is Saturday.

“It will be a test of our pitching, especially with Kirkpatrick out,” Walke said. “We just have to take it an inning at a time and a game at a time, but we absolutely have to give our pitchers defensive and run support. The sectionals will be here before you know it.”