While the Union softball Lady ’Cats wanted a better finish at their home tournament last weekend, it was a productive two-day event.
“We didn’t get the outcome we were hoping for but we learned a lot,” Union Head Coach Tiffany Poggas said. “We have work to do and confidence to build on defense.”
Union (1-4) opened pool play with a 4-0 shutout of Affton Friday.
However, that was the highlight of the event. In Friday’s second game, Perryville edged Union, 4-3. And Seckman shut out Union in Saturday’s first game, 3-0.
After going 1-2 in pool play, Union was paired up with Pacific for the fifth-place contest. And the Lady Indians won this time, 15-14, in a wild back-and-forth contest.
Poggas said Union switched things up a little bit for the final game.
“After throwing three complete seven-inning games, we decided to give Kelsie (Hardester) some rest and see what Kieley DeWitt could do,” Poggas said. “She came in and did a fantastic job. The score does not reflect her effort in the game. We made five errors on defense in the game. We also let several fall that were playable. We need our defense to produce no matter who is in the circle for us.”
Offensively, Poggas said Union is starting to hit the ball better.
“It was nice to see us finally get our bats going though,” Poggas said. “Caroline (Dunne) has been itching to hit a home run and I’m so glad she was able to get that accomplished this year. It was great to see. Sydney (Eads) and Reagan (Rapert) have both been hitting hard but averages don’t quite show that yet. I was happy to see them get the ball in play.”
Union was the visiting team and opened with a run in the top of the first. Pacific scored twice in the bottom of the inning and added a run in the second.
In the third, Union scored three times and Pacific added one run to tie the game at 4-4.
Each team scored four times in the fourth. Pacific took a 12-8 lead in the fifth, but Union scored six times in the sixth to retake the lead.
Pacific got one run in the bottom of the sixth and two in the seventh to win it.
DeWitt went the distance, 6.2 innings. She allowed 15 runs (four earned) on 13 hits, three walks and two hit batters. She struck out eight.
Union had 11 hits, including Dunne’s home run. Anna Scanlon, Dunne and Rapert doubled.
Rapert, Eads and Dunne had two hits apiece. Kelsie Hardester, Hailey Earney, DeWitt, Scanlon and Kylie Hardester each had one hit.
Rapert, Dunne, DeWitt and Scanlon walked. Earney was hit by a pitch.
Rapert scored four times. Eads crossed the plate three times. Dunne had two runs while Earney, Kylie Hardester, Ella Wells and Logan Baeres each had one run.
Dunne drove in four. Eads and DeWitt each had two RBIs. Rapert, Kelsie Hardester, Scanlon and Kylie Hardester had one RBI apiece.
Union made five errors and Pacific had four. Pacific outhit Union, 13-11.
Kelsie Hardester was able to dominate Affton hitters in the game.
“Kelsie recorded 15 strikeouts during this game,” Poggas said. “She did a phenomenal job in the circle. She looks strong and ready for this season.”
Kelsie Hardester allowed one hit and two hit batters in the game.
Union only had three hits, including a triple by Rapert.
Kelsie Hardester and Skylar Sans Souci each singled.
Dunne walked twice. Rapert, Eads and Earney walked once. Kylie Hardester and Rapert were hit by pitches. Kelsie Hardester also had a sacrifice fly.
Rapert scored two of the runs. Kylie Hardester and Wells scored once.
Kelsie Hardester had two RBIs. Dunne and Sans Souci each drove in one.
Union scored three runs in the bottom of the third and added a run in the fifth.
Union outhit Affton, 3-1, and Affton made three errors to Union’s one.
Affton’s Emelie Mandernach struck out 10 Union batters.
Union’s hopes of making the title game hit a serious snag against Perryville in a 4-3 loss.
Union scored twice in the bottom of the first. Perryville scored once in the fourth and three times in the fifth. Union added a run in the sixth.
Perryville outhit Union, 6-3, and made the game’s lone error.
Kelsie Hardester allowed four runs on six hits and a hit batter while striking out six.
Rapert tripled. Eads and Dunne singled.
Kelsie Hardester, Earney and Sans Souci each walked.
Earney stole two bases and Logan Baeres added one. Kelsie Hardester hit a sacrifice fly.
Rapert scored twice and Wells scored once.
Dunne drove in two of the runs and Kelsie Hardester had one RBI.
“Perryville was a tough team. It was a good game. We took the lead for a while and got comfortable. We had a few balls drop in for hits that we have to put more effort into but all in all, it wasn’t a bad experience.”
Union still had a chance to play for a higher spot, but was shut out in Saturday’s opener against Seckman.
“Seckman is always a tough opponent but, once again, we shot ourselves in the foot with errors on defense,” Poggas said. “We have to clean it up if we are going to have a successful season.”
Seckman outhit Union, 4-3, and Union made four errors to Seckman’s two.
Seckman scored two runs in the third and added another in the seventh.
Lauren Montgomery also gave up two walks to go with the three hits. She fanned eight.
Kelsie Hardester allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk. She struck out five.
Emily Lowe had two of the hits and Sans Souci posted the other one. All were singles.
Eads and Earney walked. Eads also had a stolen base.
Union returns to action Tuesday, hosting Hermann to start Four Rivers Conference play. Union plays Thursday at Sullivan with a 4:30 p.m. start time.