With limited practice time and a young line-up, the Litchfield High School softball team is still trying to find its footing as the 2021 season opened up for the Lady Panthers this past week.
The Panthers played a pair of road games on April 28 and 29, falling to Auburn 16-1 in four innings and Staunton 12-2 in five frames.
In the Auburn contest, Litchfield would put themselves in position to score early, despite not getting a hit as they had runners on first and second with just one out after Lauren Monke reached on an error and Annika Rhodes was hit by a pitch.
Auburn pitcher Sydney Rabideau would get out of the jam, though, getting a fielder’s choice to cut down Monke at third, then coaxing a ground ball back to the mound from Emma Walch to end the threat.
The Trojans would come out swinging in their half of the first, compiling four hits to score four runs, with a pair of walks mixed in to aid the production.
Litchfield would get their first hit, a single by Ashley Hickerson, in the second, but Rabideau would again work through the threat. The Trojans added another run in the bottom of the second, but Litchfield would answer this time.
Bella Roach led off the third inning with a triple, then scored on an RBI ground out by Monke. The next two batters would ground out and fly out, but Litchfield was on the board, 5-1, going into the bottom of the third.
Unfortunately, the Trojans would take over from there, scoring five runs in the bottom of the third and six runs in the bottom of the fourth to end the game by the 15-run rule in the fourth inning.
Hickerson’s single and Roach’s triple would be the only hits of the game for Litchfield. Emma Walch would take the loss on the mound, giving up 16 runs (15 earned) on 12 hits with nine walks and two hit batters.
The Panthers would make strides in their loss to Staunton, doubling their hit and run total in the 12-2 loss to the Bulldogs.
Staunton, who co-ops with Mt. Olive for softball, scored two runs in the first two innings, but Litchfield got one of those back in the third to make it 2-1.
Litchfield’s run came with two outs as Libby Lamb walked and Bella Roach doubled to cut the Staunton lead in half.
The momentum would be snuffed out in the bottom half of the inning as the Bulldogs put together three straight singles to score another run. Up 3-1 with two on, Staunton delivered a big blow to Litchfield’s comeback hopes as Taylor Nolan hit a three-run homer to left field to up the margin to 6-1.
The Panthers would get another run back in the top of the fifth when Roach singled to score Taylor Brakenhoff, who had doubled two batters earlier.
Again, Staunton answered, with Savannah Billings drilling a two-run homer in the second at-bat of the bottom of the fifth. The Bulldogs would score four more times after Billings’ bomb to go up by 10 and end the game by the 10-run rule.
While the loss stings, Bella Roach was a bright spot as she went 2-for-3 with two runs driven in. Taylor Brakenhoff and Emma Walch would also have hits in the game.
Lauren Monke would take the loss for the Panthers on the mound, allowing 12 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits and one walk.
Litchfield will be at home for the first time on Monday, May 3, as they take on Vandalia in their SCC opener.
April 28 at Auburn
Litchfield 001 0 1 2 1
Auburn 415 6 16 12 1
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
Walch 3.1 16 15 12 0 9
*Walch 2 HBP
Auburn IP R ER H K BB
Rabideau 4 1 1 2 1 1
*Rabideau 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Auburn - Mailee Schoen 3-3, Kali Hall 2-2, Lucy Madaus 2-3, Kaylee Shepard 2-4. 2B: Mailee Schoen 3, Kaylee Shepard. 3B: Litchfield - Bella Roach 1; Auburn - Shelby Seiler 1. Runs: Litchfield - Bella Roach 1. RBI: Litchfield - Lauren Monke 1.
April 29 at Staunton
Litchfield 001 01 2 4 1
Staunton 114 06 12 14 2
Plains IP R ER H K BB
Hamerlinck 1 4 1 3 3 3
O’Donnell 1 3 1 4 0 0
W-Butcher 2.2 2 1 3 4 0
S-Durako 2.1 1 0 2 4 0
Staunton IP R ER H K BB
Kierbach 5 2 1 4 8 1
Multiple Hits: Litchfield - Bella Roach 2-3; Staunton - Whitney Weller 3-3, Savannah Billings 2-2, Tori Kierbach 2-3, Koral Keehner 2-3, Evin Frank 2-4. 2B: Litchfield - Taylor Brakenhoff 1, Bella Roach 1. HR: Staunton - Savannah Billings 1, Taylor Nolan 1. Runs: Litchfield - Taylor Brakenhoff 1, Libby Lamb 1. RBI: Litchfield - Bella Roach 2.
Record: Litchfield (0-2).