Opportunity slips away as Braves swept by MVHS
All it took was one inning.
It looked entirely possible for Mill Valley and Bonner Springs to split their doubleheader Tuesday, despite Mill Valley having dominated the first game 10-0.
The Braves led game two, 3-2, going into the fifth inning, and the Jaguars weren’t producing enough with their bats to string together many runs.
Then the perfect storm started brewing against the Braves, and the Jaguars used it to seize control of the game.
Mill Valley had a couple of hits and Jillian Jobe, who had hits in every at-bat Tuesday, tied the game with an RBI off a bunt. Next, Lacie Myers hit an RBI single and Jobe scored on a throwing error. Meanwhile, Bonner Springs lost two starters, one to heat exhaustion and another who took a ball to the nose.
“I think that put everybody down,” Bonner Springs coach Denise Chowning said. “Whenever you lose two of your starting players to injury, you have to pick it up. Our subs went in and did a good job, but it slowly went out of control from that point.”
Still, Mill Valley only led by two and, with runners on first and second and no outs, Bonner Springs looked poised to take back momentum.
Instead, the Jaguars turned a triple play, getting the pop-up and tagging out both runners. The excitement from the dugout was more than winning the actual game.
“The triple play put the icing on the cake for us,” Mill Valley coach Sarah Haub said.
The Jaguars went on to roll, 11-4, and remain one of the elite Kaw Valley teams with their 11-1 record.
The Braves, on the other hand, have lost six straight after starting 6-0.
Usually, a team with a losing streak can play with a chip on its shoulder, but Haub said she made her team focus on itself and not the competition. That has been her approach all season.
“If we play our best,” she said, “we’re going to hopefully play better than them.”
Haub said Jobe had a hit in every at-bat and several other players performed exceptionally well.
Freshman pitcher Lexie Myers took over in the second inning of game two, down 3-0, but didn’t allow another run except for one scored off a throwing error.
The Braves, Chowning said, have to correct little things such as limiting errors. Though the score doesn’t indicate it, they were in both games and a few of the other games they lost earlier this season.
The difference between the first six games and the previous six is the quality of competition. When Bonner Springs scored 15 runs, it could overcome mistakes.
Now that games are closer, as was the case against Mill Valley, the mistakes are magnified.
“Now, it’s us seeing that those errors are very important and they’re going to make or break a game,” Chowning said.
In game one, she said, junior Bre Hammer pitched her best game of the season but the defense didn’t help her out.
There is talent on the team and once it gets the fielding issues fixed up, Chowning and her players are optimistic for the rest of the season.
“We can come back and win the rest of our games,” she said. “I really think that they want to do that and they will do that.”