The 13 hits rapped by Fort Osage’s softball team Tuesday not only overcame a big early blow from a William Chrisman, but also the Indians’ own miscues with the glove and on the basepaths.
Twice the Indians rallied from a multi-run deficit, and twice they sent up 10 batters in an inning during their a 12-5 home win over Chrisman to open Suburban Middle Seven play.
It was the kind of offensive performance Fort Osage coach Kelly Sullivan said she anticipates seeing plenty of times this season, but only saw just bits and pieces during the last weekend’s Greater Kansas City Tournament.
“This should be like that,” said Sullivan, whose team improved to 2-4. “Unfortunately during the tournament we saw it sporadically.”
Chrisman, which also entered at 1-4, claimed a 3-0 lead in the first inning courtesy of Merina Thomas’ home run to left-center, which followed a clean single and a hard-hit outfield error.
Fort Osage responded with single runs in their first three at-bats, as Paige Hayden’s groundout scored Kelsey McIntyre, Baylee Sims’ sacrifice fly plated Flecia Gwinn and Katy Divers singled in Lauren Schletzbaum with two outs.
“I won’t take anything away from William Chrisman,” Sullivan said. “Every year they’ve turned it up a notch, and they had the big hit early.
“But I had confidence in the girls to turn it around. I know they can hit.”
The Bears reclaimed the advantage with two runs in the fourth, as Sydney Croucher’s grounder scored Ravyn Swope and pitcher Taylor Wisker’s courtesy runner came around from second when Deja Hall laid down a bunt and the throw to first was dropped.
Fort Osage nearly killed its own rally in the bottom half when Paige James tried to advance from second as Chrisman shortstop Kyana Mason fumbled a one-out grounder, got caught in a rundown and was tagged by Mason. But No. 9 hitter Sims clubbed the first pitch from Wisker to the left-field corner for an RBI double.
McIntyre followed by drawing her second walk (the Indians had seven overall), Schletzbaum and Hayden singled in runs and Schletzbaum scored on a double steal.
While the Indians were aggressive, with numerous steals and extra bases taken on plays, the rundown represented the third time an Indians runner was tagged out trying to advance on a play.
“We’ve got to get that taken care of,” Sullivan said of the potential lost runs. “Still, at that point (the fourth) I felt we’d be able to come back.”
Fort Osage put the game away in the fifth when its first four batters reached, the last on an error. Hayden’s single made it 9-5, with errors scoring two more on the same play, and Divers doubled in a run.
Wisker took the loss after going 3 2/3 innings, and she was relieved by Emilie Garner.
“We have the potential to be a lot stronger defensively,” Chrisman coach Lindsey Ramsey said. “We’re good defensively when our heads are in the game. We’ve had the talk before, about being aware of where baserunners are and not letting them run around. We didn’t make plays we needed to.
“We hit the ball early on, but in the later innings we weren’t putting the ball in play like we needed to.”
That was due in part to Divers, who started in the circle for Fort Osage and retired the last 10 batters she faced. Divers scattered four hits and a walk and struck out five.
Divers credited her battery mate for “learning the batters” early on with her, then communicating throughout the game.
“Our catcher, Kelsey McIntyre, did a good job picking up on hitters – seeing where they were in the box, what pitches would work, whether they dropped their hands,” Divers said.
Stevee Naudet had three hits and scored twice for the Indians, while James joined Hayden (three RBIs) and Divers with two apiece. McIntyre scored three runs.
“We know there’s a long way to go, but I think we’ll be a good team,” Divers said.