With a couple weeks left before the start of the state tournament, the Fitch softball squad has hit a small tailspin.
Three losses last week have left the Lady Falcons 6-10 on the season, 0-4 in the conference and searching for some good luck down the stretch.
Two of those defeats were important losses in the All American Red Tier as the Falcons fell further in the conference standings. Fitch lost to Howland 3-1 on April 16 then came back a day later and lost to the Lady Tigers, 10-4. Tori Wise pitched in both contests and suffered the loss both times. All the runs in that Monday match were scored in the second inning. Christine Holmes had two hits and she drove home a run in the top of the second to give Fitch a 1-0 lead. Howland then had three runners cross the dish in the home half of that same frame to jump ahead. The rest of the game went scoreless keeping Fitch winless in the league.
In the home portion of the home-in-home series with Howland on April 17, Chelsea Raymer went the first three innings for the Falcons then was removed when two Tigers trotted home in the top of the fourth. The Falcons fought back an inning later to take the lead with three runs. A seven run top of the seventh by the Tigers took away Fitch's lead and any chance it had to pick up its initial Red Tier triumph.
Cali Mikovich clouted a homerun and two singles and knocked home two runs in the loss. Alex Corradi had a double, a single and an RBI. Megan Carney and Wise also had doubles with Carney adding an RBI and Wise adding a single.
Fitch went out of conference on April 19 to play at Hubbard, but the result was the same as the two conference tilts. The Lady Eagles soared past the Falcons 3-1 to leave Fitch with a double-digit loss total. Hubbard picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning off Fitch starter Wise then tacked on another tally two inning later. Fitch, meanwhile, could not score until the sixth inning when Holmes singled home a run. Carney, Corradi and Wise all had doubles in defeat. Mikovich collected two hits as the Falcons outhit Hubbard eight to six. The super sophomore also stole two bases. Junior Jessica Welsh and sophomore Marissa Mraz also picked up hits for the Falcons.
Although the outcomes of those recent games were not perfect, Fitch head coach Melody Ward chose to reflect on some positives from other recent outings.
"Even though we were defeated by Poland we got eight hits off nationally recognized (pitcher) Erin Gabriel," exclaimed Ward. "In Myrtle Beach (at the recently completed Mingo Bay Classic) we played some tough competition and came up big in some hard-fought games. Despite our record, we hope to reignite that flame come tournament time putting all aspects of the game together."
Even though she has not been able to pile up many wins, Wise has been fairly effective in the pitching circle so good things should be able to fall Fitch's way down the stretch. A lot of different contributors have been spurring the Falcons' lineup too, which is a positive. Scoring only six runs in three losses, however, has to lead to some concern. Coach Ward thinks her offense is not that far away from becoming a force however.
"In all honesty, we were one or two hits away from really putting together big games," said Ward. "Offensively we are almost outhitting teams, but we are just not putting hits together back to back. Once that starts clicking we will become a very dangerous team."
A couple of contests with new conference cousin Canfield highlight Fitch's upcoming schedule. The Lady Cardinals have only lost to undefeated Poland in the league so far, so clipping the Cardinals may prove to be a colossal task for the Falcons. Picking up that first Red Tier win, though, is still Fitch's immediate goal with success in the state playoffs looming on the horizon.