Bad starts are difficult to overcome, whether it’s giving up early runs or leaving the umpire with a bad first impression.
The Rock Bridge softball team did a little of both in its 6-4 loss to Fulton on Tuesday night at Rock Bridge.
Fulton’s Krystle Peterson drove in the Hornets’ first run on a controversial bunt. Rock Bridge coach Jennifer Mast disputed the call, saying Peterson’s foot touched the ball in fair territory.
“That’s a judgment call,” Mast said. “He said it didn’t happen. He and I didn’t get started off on a very good foot.”
The Bruins (4-7) had a 2-1 lead after one inning, but the Hornets again used the bunt to jump-start their offense in the second. Fulton scored four runs in the inning, all with two outs.
“We didn’t play the slap or the bunt very well,” Mast said. “Fulton has always been aggressive on the base paths. We didn’t have our corners in like we should have and it took us a few innings to get into that, and that’s my fault.”
Mast also argued another call in the second. She said she thought Kim Small was out at the plate after T.J. Quick’s double.
Although she was critical of the umpires, Mast praised the play of Fulton’s first two batters, Small and Quick.
“Quick has been their No. 2 in the past, and for them to have someone ahead of her who is just as good and just as fast, they’ve got a really nice situation there,” she said.
Despite the loss, Mast found positives in her team’s play.
“We didn’t hand them the win, they earned a lot of runs,” she said. “The other positive is we strung some hits together in the sixth with runners on. That’s something we’re capable of but we haven’t done for a while.”
Melissa White continued her hot-hitting with a two-run single in the first. She also led off the sixth with a hard line drive, but Fulton pitcher Michelle Ponce made an outstanding catch to rob White of a base hit. White came into the game batting .500.
“She’s certainly on a roll,” Mast said. “We don’t make a big deal about it because you don’t want to jinx it.”
Marijke Buitink pitched all seven innings for Rock Bridge. After giving up five runs in the first two innings, she gave up one in the last five. Mast said she blamed herself for getting Buitink on the umpire’s bad side.
“I think she was a little frustrated with the umpire, which you don’t want the kids to get into that,” Mast said. “I always feel bad after doing it myself. But she’s gotten a lot more mature and she pitched through it. I wasn’t helping her out at all.”