By Steve Robinson | April 2, 2008 - 10:04 pm
Posted in Category: Normal West HS, Pekin Daily Times, Pekin HS

BaseballNORMAL – One might not see many positives in losing a fifth straight game by 11 runs, but Pekin Community High Softball Coach Priscilla DeLaere saw things in a positive light despite the Lady Dragons’ 12-1 defeat at the hands of Normal West High in a non-conference game on the diamond at Maxwell Park Wednesday.

To begin with, Pekin (0-5) scored their first run of the season in the top of the first inning – senior catcher Jessica Whitley crossing the plate with one out, courtesy of a single from sophomore shortstop Sam Harr, and a Wildcats wild pitch, giving the Dragons a quick 1-0 lead.

From there, though, Normal West (7-1) dominated the contest, scoring four runs in the home half of the second inning, starting with senior second baseman Kelly Leake’s single and a Dragons wild pitch scoring senior left fielder Caiti Kopp, tying the game at 1-all.

But Dragons junior pitcher Brogan Epkins struggled before being replaced after three innings, after allowing two hits and hitting a batter, clearing the bases to give West a 4-1 lead before Pekin’s defense could earn the last two outs, and find themselves trailing for the rest of the game.

Pekin DragonsEpkins exited with three strikeouts after three innings in favor of junior Kari Bolen who carried through the rest of the way.

West junior pitcher Jenn Murray had similar struggles, leaving the game after two innings, but managing to record five strikeouts before doing so.

Despite how the scoreboard read at the end of the contest, DeLaere said she was pleased with the effort her players put forth in the contest.

“We looked a lot better at the plate,” she said. “We hit the ball solidly. Our goal was to limit the number of strikeouts and start hitting the ball.

“Our goal was to score first and we did that,” she said. “We got our first run and I’m very happy with that.

“And defense-wise, we didn’t make many errors, so I’m very happy with that.”

Normal WestIn the Dragons’ 17-0 loss to Limestone High Tuesday, the Dragons recorded 7 errors. Against the Wildcats, there were none.

DeLaere said that she is seeing some aggressive play which her team has needed since the season started. She said there were two signs of this. First was getting that first run on the board.

But the Dragons’ pitching staff will need to cut down on wild pitches, too, DeLaere said. Against West, Epkins and Bolen combined for 2 wild pitches giving the Wildcats easier shots to score runs.

DeLaere said her team will not get much time to iron out the kinks, as the game at West was the second of a three-game road trip. The Dragons visit Morton High Thursday for a 4:30p.m.game.

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