McPherson High’s softball team handed Augusta only its second loss of the season here Monday in the first game of two matching the Class 4A titans.
The Bullpups overcame an early 4-2 deficit for an 8-4 victory, before the Orioles flexed their muscles for a 13-3 rout in the nightcap to earn the split.
“The first game we played as well as we have all year,” said MHS coach Danica Fitzmorris, whose team reaches the halfway point of the season at 7-3 while Augusta is 8-2. “Maddie Hoffman pitched a solid game. We also had some fantastic defensive plays in the field. Two doubleplays, a diving catch in the outfield by Marissa Axelson, and solid play throughout the game from our infield and outfield.”
Chelsey Kerr was 3 for 4 and drove in two runs to lead the Bullpups, who are without tablesetter Kiley Kerr for the rest of the year because of a torn ACL suffered two weeks ago.
Hannah Marshall slugged a triple and double, good for three RBIs. Jasmine Wann ripped two hits and Axelson added a double. Hoffman scattered eight hits in picking up the win.
In the second game, the Orioles jumped out to a 5-0 lead and the Bullpups could never recover, as their bats were silenced for the first time this year with just two hits, the big one a two-run triple by Axelson. Marshall had the other hit.
Axelson took the loss.
“Augusta put runs on the board in every inning except one, while our bats went stale along with our enthusiasm,” Fitzmorris said. “We have to become more mentally strong as we proceed through this season. Augusta is a solid offensive team. They, like us, had errors in the field in Game Two offering us some opportunities for scoring, but we just couldn't string hits together like we did in Game One.”
The MHS JVs lost a pair of games as they are now 5-5 on the year. Augusta hit the ball hard in both games for 11-8 and 23-2 wins.
Hitting leaders for MHS in the opener were Amanda Linden (two hits, three RBIs), Mayci James (three hits, two RBIs), Kaylee Hardin (two hits) and Ashlee May (two hits). May was the losing pitcher.
Stephanie Farney had MHS’ only hit in the second game. May was the losing pitcher.
The Bullpups host Buhler on Monday.
MHS (8) — Hoffman 4-2-1-0, Marshall 4-2-2-3, C. Kerr 4-1-3-2, Wann 4-1-2-1, Axelson 3-1-1-1, B. Schrag 3-0-0-0, Stockham 2-0-0-1, Cheek 3-0-1-0, Feil 3-1-1-0.
MHS (3) — Hoffman 3-0-0-0, Marshall 2-1-1-0, C. Kerr 2-1-0-0, Wann 3-0-0-0, Axelson 2-1-1-2, E. Schrag 2-0-0-0, Stockham 2-0-0-0, Cheek 2-0-0-0, Feil 1-0-0-0.