Highline first baseman Jordan Sharp throws the ball to home.
SLIDESHOW: Pirates work on adaptibility
By Gerardo Bolong
In sunny, 70 degree weather, the Highline Pirate softball team toiled to fine tune its skills in a three-inning, 15-run mercy rule 18-0 home win against inexperienced and outgunned Foster on Mon., April 8, at Moshier Park.
The Pirates sailed to a 5-1 league record and a 6-2 overall record with their only league loss being a 12-1 defeat by league leading Kennedy Catholic (6-0, 8-0) at Chelsea Park with a Tuesday home encounter with Lindbergh before Spring Break. Highline will then return to action on Wed., April 16, hosting the Lancers.
With little experience, particularly on the pitching mound, the visiting Bulldogs were victims of Nicole Jacobson's no-hot shutout featuring seven strikeouts. Foster placed two runners on base. One batter was hit by a pitch before reaching second base in the first inning while the Bulldogs' other runner walked on six pitches before stealing second base, only to be wiped out on a game ending catcher Brooke McElwain throw to third baseman Lauren Gower for the tag out on an attempted steal in the third inning.
"I worked on some pitches, but didn't need to use all of them, today," said Jacobson. "I swung the bat well and pitched for strikes."
Highline scored all its needed runs in the top of the initial frame. Taylor Gower's infield single and stolen base ahead of Jacobson's misplayed fly ball produced one run while Maddie Kelly powered home another tally on triple down the left field line. Second baseman Jenny Howland ripped a run-scoring double and eventually scored on a fielder's choice ground ball that resulted in no out being recorded combined with an ensuing ground ball out.
"We adjusted to swinging the bat according to the speed (of the pitches) and concentrated on playing solid defenses," said Kelly who batted 2-for-2 including a triple and two RBI.
In the home half of the second inning, the Pirates sent 18 batters to the plate, recording 14 runs by way of hits and plentiful walks to set up the early stoppage.
Showing good sportsmanship and restraint, Highline's play could be compared to a boxer who posts a unanimous decision instead of going for the knockout. The Pirates avoided trying for extra bases on hits, understanding that the game would end early, while also using two jv players and working on individual and team adaptability.
For Highline, the abbreviated encounter was a chance to work on adjustments.
"We brought up two jv players because the jv team has not played a game, yet," said Pirate head coach Rod Pierce. "We need to make adjustments for speed and going to right field. I thought we were good on our adjustments, today."
The players agreed.
"It was a chance to focus on little things I need to work on," Howland said. "We just need to be solid and play good defense."
Jordan Sharp hit 2-for-3 with two RBI for the Pirates.
As the next part of the schedule loomed ahead, coach Pierce reflected upon the loss to Kennedy and the return engagement.
"Against Kennedy we didn't hit and had two bad innings," he said. "I know we can hit and look forward to welcoming Kennedy here. We can step it up and hope to have an enjoyable time playing them (at home). It should be a good game."
John F. Kennedy has destroyed all its opposition in five innings or less.
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