by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley softball team has a stiff challenge.
The Eagles faced off against Blue Springs, a team that has had a strong softball program for many years.
They had plenty of opportunities to score, but only managed to push across three runs in a 7-3 loss to the Wildcats Monday at home.
Grain Valley (14-5) stranded nine runners on base, including five in the first two scoreless innings.
“We had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of,” Grain Valley head coach Garrett Ogle said. “I thought that we hit well and pitched well. We just had opportunities that didn’t go our way.”
Blue Springs took advantage by scoring one run in the first inning on an error and Brooklyn Saysoff drove in Cejai Hollins on an RBI single in the third to make it 2-0. Grain Valley countered with a run in the bottom of the third when Salome’ Haley reached on an infield single, Olivia Slaughter doubled to left center field to put runners on second and third and Crysta Hernandez used a squeeze bunt to push across a run.
That’s all the Eagles would get as they went into the fourth down 2-1. The Wildcats (12-5) tacked onto the lead in the top of the fourth when Rien Moore singled and reached third on a two-base error by the Eagles on the same play, and then scored on an RBI bloop single by Kendall Miller, making it 3-1.
In the fifth, Blue Springs blew the game open against Grain Valley starting pitcher Hailey Hemme. Sayoff drilled a bases-clearing double to left-center field in the fifth to make it 6-1 and Makenna Delany made it 7-1 in the sixth with an RBI single.
The Eagles didn’t go down without a fight though as they loaded the bases in the sixth. First baseman Ella Clyman drove in two runs on a sharp single up the middle to make it 7-3, however, the next batter flew out to end the threat as the team managed just three runs against Moore.
Hemme was the losing pitcher as she tossed seven innings and allowed seven runs (six earned), walked six and struck out seven.
“Hailey pitched great,” Ogle said. “She threw strikes and she gave us a good opportunity to be in the ball game.”
Camryn Bown led the Eagles’ hitters by going 3-for-3 at the dish.
Grain Valley shortstop Sydney Wagner gets ready to field a ground ball. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley starting pitcher Hailey Hemme gave up six earned runs and struck out seven batters in a 7-3 loss to Blue Springs. Photo credit: Michael Smith