South Johnston’s varsity softball team took an early 2-0 lead Wednesday evening before allowing four unanswered runs en route to a 4-2 loss at home versus Clayton.
“I thought that we needed to be hitting the ball more than we were,” said South softball coach Ashley Ennis. “We weren’t comfortable with where we were.”
After holding the Comets in the top of the first, South opened up the scoring in the bottom half. Katie Mitchell connected on a solid line-drive into shallow center field to earn a base hit. Carmen Keene followed her with an RBI double to make it 1-0.
The Trojans added to their lead in the bottom of the third after Kyndal Woodard scored on a base hit by Mitchell to make it 2-0. But that’s when things went downhill.
“We didn’t hit our spots well pitching-wise,” Ennis said. “We were hanging some stuff, and they were taking advantage of it, putting some good swings on it.”
South starting pitcher Carmen Keene was having a pretty solid game through three innings. But she found herself in a hole in the top of the fourth after allowing two hits. That’s when a double into right field by Clayton’s Emily Rose scored two to tie the game. Then, the next batter ripped another RBI line drive through the gap up the middle, scoring Rose to give the Comets the lead. Another solid base hit scored the final run of the game before Clayton’s fourth was finished.
South never stopped fighting though. Several batters made solid connections in the fifth and sixth innings, but they were shots right at Comet defenders. The Trojans’ sixth inning notably included two flyouts and then a multi-foul ball sequence with two strikes before a swinging strikeout to end the frame.
“We hit the ball hard a couple of times, they just happened to be straight at people,” Ennis remarked. “Overall, we knew we needed to hit the ball often in order to beat them. Ultimately, I feel like we didn’t string together enough hits. We didn’t have a good approach at the plate tonight, and that’s what cost us.”
With the loss, South suffers the first blemish on its conference record at 5-1 and stands at 9-4 overall.