The 2011 softball season got off to a modest start for the Canfield Lady Cardinals.
Canfield was shutout at home on March 29 by the wonderful pitching of Hubbard’s Haley Thirion in a 5-0 loss. Thirion had her way with the home team all day scattering six hits and striking out six. About the only thing more heartbreaking than that Opening Day defeat was the fact that Canfield could not compete again all week because of the crazy early spring weather. Not being able to avenge that opening loss was certainly disappointing.
“We are certainly looking forward to some better weather and our next games to pull things together,” wrote Canfield head coach Ronie Haurin in an email over the weekend.
Those next games were not officially scheduled to start until April 5 unless a makeup game was played in the interim. The Lady Cardinals were to meet Liberty on Tuesday, archrival Poland on April 6 and travel to Lakeview on April 7. With three nice tests in a row, the first improvement Haurin would like to see from her inexperienced team from last Tuesday’s game is in the health department.
“We had to make some changes in our lineup due to the illness of catcher/third baseperson Laura Beck,” stated Haurin. “That might have been just enough to give the younger players some first game jitters.”
With Beck under the weather and missing from the middle of Canfield’s lineup, Thirion was allowed to make the rest of the Cardinals feel sick. She only gave up one extra base hit, a double by Abby Baker, and five singles. Canfield starting hurler Carlee Hart did not pitch badly in her season debut never giving up more than one run in any of the innings she was hit hard, but still took the tough loss. The Lady Eagles were able to be smart against Hart, which enabled them to peck away at the scoreboard.
“Hubbard had a more experienced team offensively,” Haurin admitted. “They were very patient at the plate and hit the ball well. Our pitchers did a decent job against a good hitting Hubbard team.”
The Cardinals backed Hart and relief pitcher Sara Vrabel with some decent defense too committing just two errors all day. That play in the field gave Haurin some reason for optimism this week.
“I was encouraged about our team defense as they held their own in several bases loaded situations,” Haurin wrote.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals were also putting up small rallies, but never got that key hit to alarm the Eagles.
“Offensively, we were able to get runners on (the bases) but just couldn’t finish our attack,” complained Haurin.
Hopefully, with Beck back in the batting order things will look better for the Canfield offense. The Cards are still a young team, but they do not plan to fold anytime soon.