Lady Pirates’ offense falters on senior night

By 
Justin Hotop

Perryville softball coach Dustin Wengert boiled the game down quite simply. His team could not string together hits. The Lady Pirates scattered three hits as they fell 3-0 to Jackson on Thursday on what was ultimately deemed senior night.
“Jackson had three innings where they put back-to-back his together and that was the difference in the game,” Wengert said. “We gave up probably two hard hit balls all night and it seemed like at the plate we were a fraction off on our swings, which caused a lot of our contact to be fly balls and pop-ups.”
The hits were few and far between for the Lady Pirates (3-2) as Brooke Huber smashed a double to the wall with two outs in the bottom of the first, but Anna Korando flew out to center to end the inning. That was the only time that Perryville had a runner reach second base.
Otherwise, Jackson pitcher Karli Johnson held Perryville at bay. Johnson led Jackson (4-0) from the circle, pitching a complete game, giving up the three hits with five strikeouts and no walks. She was helped with a nice play on a sharp groundball to start the fifth inning by Brittanie Stewart to stymie a possible Perryville rally.
Ann-Marie Simpson took the loss for Perryville as she went all seven innings, gave up three runs on six hits, with six strikeouts.
Jackson struck early in the first when Kylie Darrow reached first on a one-bunt bunt. Simpson was able to strike out the next batter, but Jackson’s Ainsley Watson hit a soft line-drive to center that gave Jackson a 1-0 advantage. That was all the Indians could muster until the final two innings when they scored a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings.
“Ann-Marie has been awesome all year,” Wengert said. “She has pitched well enough to win all three of her starts this fall. You could tell that we had the defense behind her to win all of those games, including against Camdenton when we threw the no-hitter and again tonight.”
Perryville looked to have momentum in the fifth inning when Jackson threatened in the top half with a runner on third and no outs. Jackson’s Brooke Gerau singled to start the inning and then stole both second and third before Simpson struck out the next two batters and then got Alli Gartman to pop out to Kyla Laurentius on the infield with a nice over the shoulder catch fading into centerfield.
But the Pirates could do nothing with the momentum. Darrow tripled to the wall and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field. Then Gareau led the seventh with a single and scored on another sacrifice fly to left field.
Perryville is now off until at least Sept. 15, as the district has went 100 percent virtual. Wengert hopes that this is not the end of their season.
“We are in a tough spot,” Wengert said. “Our leadership feels like we need to shut down so we have to follow those guidelines. This not the path we wanted to take this season, but hopefully on Sept. 15, we are able to return and continue where we left off.”

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