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Devil in the defense

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Connersville’s Haylee Perry (33) gets set to step off of first base in the second inning, while Mount Vernon (Fortville) first baseman Cassidy Parker awaits the next pitch, Wednesday evening at Spartan Field. Perry wound up being one of nine runners stranded by the Spartans in a 17-8 loss to the Marauders
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Connersville junior Madison Fields connects for a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, Wednesday evening against Mount Vernon (Fortville) at Spartan Field. Fields drove home Jeri Ellis and Allison Woytik ahead of her with the homer, her first of the season. Fields and the Spartans suffered their first loss of the season, falling by a 17-8 score.
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Connersville shortstop Allison Woytik scoops up a third-inning ground ball against Mount Vernon (Fortville)at Spartan Field on Wednesday night. Woytik had a hit and scored a run in a loss to the Lady Marauders.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

There was plenty that went wrong for the Connersville High School softball team in its 17-8 loss to Mount Vernon (Fortville) on Wednesday evening.

At the plate, the Lady Spartans were guilty of 11 strikeouts. The primary result form that many Ks was that CHS left nine runners aboard, including a bases-loaded situation the fifth inning.

But perhaps the most glaring issue facing Connersville in its first loss of the 2018 season (3-1) was its play on the field.

CHS was guilty of six errors in the game, many of them coming at critical times, allowing the Lady Marauders to extend innings in which the visitors scored multiple times.

“They are a solid squad, and when you commit errors and give a team like that extra at-bats, they’re going to make you pay for it. You saw that tonight,” Connersville head coach David Ellis said afterward. “We had six errors in the game, and that’s not counting the mental mistakes that we had. 

“At the end of the day, they played much better defense than we did.”

That wasn’t all, as Mount Vernon also collected 16 hits, two of them leaving the yard for home runs.

But even so, Ellis points out that it was the mistakes that allowed those rallies that made the difference.

“You remove some of those errors in the latter innings, and at one point, we’re down 9-8, instead of 12-8,” he said. “That’s an entirely different ballgame.”

In spite of the 11 strikeouts, Ellis admitted that there were some positive performances in spots throughout the line-up.

“Jeri (Ellis) has been our lead-off this season, and has been a solid hitter in that spot,” the CHS mentor said of his first-baseman who led the team with three hits on the evening. “Even when she gets out, for the most part, she is hitting the ball really hard. Right now, I can’t ask for more than she’s doing at the plate.”

Another strong effort at the plate in the game came from Madison Fields, who smacked her first home run of the season, after hitting a double in her previous at-bat.

“Hopefully, with Madison finally getting that first home run out of the way — she also had a hard hit double in the game — she will start really turning on the ball,” Ellis said.

“I also thought that Allison (Woytik) had one of her hardest hits of the season. If we can really get that middle of our line-up hitting the ball well all at the same time, we can really get clicking and score a lot of runs.”

But for Wednesday at least, the team able to brag about hitting the ball well, boarded its bus and headed back to Fortville.

Connersville scored first, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Ellis opened with a double and later scored on a passed ball. Following her, Kylie Jackson drew a walk and would up circling the bases as well. She was delivered home on a ground ball by Ashley Ruble three batters later.

CHS would not score again until the fifth, when the team would score three times. Ellis again initiated the rally, reaching base on a single. Another walk to Jackson, followed by a passed ball and an MV error on a hit by Ruble, would send both runners home. Ruble scored the third run of the frame, scoring on another passed ball.

The final rally of the game for the Spartans came in the sixth inning, Ellis leading off with her third hit of the game, followed two batters later by a double from Woytik.

Fields then stepped up to the plate and delivered a hard line-drive that cleared the outfield fence, chasing three runs home.

But Fortville responded with a five-run seventh inning, Connersville again extending the stanza with an error, to put the game out of reach.

Wednesday’s game came in the middle of a marathon stretch for the Spartan girls.

Following Monday’s game at Rushville (a 17-0 victory) and Wednesday’s game with the Marauders, Connersville traveled to Richmond on Thursday (results not available at press time), and will close out the week with back-to-back doubleheaders against South Dearborn on Friday and Cambridge City Lincoln on Saturday.

Game time on Friday is 5 p.m. and Saturday’s tilt is set for an 11 a.m. first pitch. 

Lady Marauders 17, Connersville 8

(at Spartan Field)

Mount Vernon 023 043 5 — 17 16 2

Connersville 200 033 0 — 8 7 6

WP: Makenzy Smith

LP: Madison Fields

Mount Vernon (Fortville) (2-2) — Riley Hasseld 1-5, Morgan Scruggs 1-5, Sydnee Perry 3-5, Kaitlyn Nugent 4-5, Macy Griner 0-0, Haley Kissee 3-4, Cassidy Parker 0-4, Jadan Fithian 0-4, Anelise Worden 2-4, Sammi Bennett 2-4, Lauryn Helderbrand 0-0. Totals 16-40.

Connersville (3-1) — Jeri Ellis 3-5, Kylie Jackson 0-3, Allison Woytik 1-3, Madison Fields 2-4, Ashley Ruble 0-4, Braxton Newton 0-2, Katie Steele 0-2, Crystyn Siefert 0-2, Hailey Elliott 1-1, Haylee Perry 0-3. Totals 7-29.

Home run — Mount Vernon 2 (Perry, Kissee), Connersville 1 (Fields). 3B — Mount Vernon 1 (Scruggs). 2B — Mount Vernon 2 (Nugent, Kissee), Connersville 3 (Ellis, Fields, Woytik). RBI — Mount Vernon 14 (Kissee 4, Parker 3, Scruggs 2, Perry 2, Nugent, Worden, Bennett), Connersville 4 (Fields 3, Ruble 1). Runs — Mount Vernon 17 (Perry 4, Kissee 4, Nugent 3, Hasseld, Scruggs, Parker, Fithian, Worden, Helderbrand), Connersville 8 (Ellis 3, Jackson 2, Fields, Woytik, Ruble). Stolen base — Mount Vernon 4 (Helderbrand, Hasseld, Nugent, Kissee). Caught stealing — Mount Vernon 1 (Perry). Sacrifice — Connersville 1 (Steele). Left on base — Mount Vernon 6, Connersville 9.