The Hickman softball team fell short of its fourth straight victory Monday.
The Kewpies lost to Eugene 4-1 at Cosmopolitan Park.
Going into the game, the Kewpies (6-16) had won four of their past five, outscoring opponents 40-23. Eugene (16-1) pitcher Jennifer Golden, who has compiled four perfect games and 10 shutouts this season, held the Kewpies to three hits and one unearned run in seven innings.
“I think she’s comparable to Delaney,” said Hickman coach Courtney Haskell, referring to Helias pitcher Lauren Delaney, who threw a perfect game in the 2003 state championship.
“I think Delaney throws a little faster and has a little more movement but (Golden) is pretty darn good.”
The Kewpies didn’t record their first hit until junior Stefani Worley led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single to right field. Two batters later, freshman Dennisa Devine singled to left and Hickman had runners on first and second with one out. Golden struck out the next two batters, though, ending Hickman’s best scoring opportunity of the evening.
“The hits weren’t falling for us tonight, that’s for sure,” Hickman sophomore Jennifer Bieberly said. “We were swinging at strikes and doing all the right things. It was just unlucky for us how it worked out.”
On numerous occasions, including twice with runners on in the fifth, Hickman failed to lay down sacrifice bunts, a problem Haskell said will have to be fixed before the start of the district tournament Thursday.
“I can probably count six times in my head that we weren’t able get bunts down,” Haskell said. “They’ve just got to get it in their heads that they can put down a bunt.”
Hickman scored its lone run in the seventh. Bieberly led off the inning with a single that turned into an inside-the-park home run when it rolled beneath the glove of Eugene’s leftfielder and went all the way to the wall.
By the time the relay reached the infield Bieberly had scored, ruining an Eagles shutout.
Golden would settle down to retire the next three Hickman batters and earn the win.
After Hickman pitcher Cassie Johanningmeier allowed two runs in the first inning. Haskell replaced her with Worley, who allowed two runs, one earned, in six innings of relief.
“I thought we played pretty decently considering the fact that we didn’t hit,” Haskell said. “We’ve got Salisbury tomorrow and that should be a good challenge for us going into districts.”