Columbus North was cruising through five innings on its home softball diamond Tuesday night.
A 1-0 lead against visiting Seymour, though not huge on the scoreboard, seemed like it would be all the Bull Dogs would need to get their first victory of the season.
But then the Owls came to bat in the top of the sixth. Five hits, two errors and one walk later, Seymour led 6-1, a lead the Owls maintained to the finish.
“We started the inning off with an error, and that lasted the entire inning,” North coach Robyn Coffer said. “We can’t win games if we can’t make a play. It starts with making the small plays. If you follow us, you know we have that inning. It’s almost like a monster that you know is coming.”
Bull Dogs pitcher Madisyn Prince was sitting on a no-hitter when Owls leadoff hitter Emily Bobb stepped in the box to start the sixth. Bobb hit a ground ball right back to Prince, but there was no one to cover first, and Bobb reached. Haley Westfall then hit a rocket of a double, plating Bobb for Seymour’s first run.
Five other Owls had RBIs in the sixth, including Faith Rebber, who plated Westfall with a single to give Seymour the lead.
“We thought all along that eventually we were going to hit the ball,” Seymour coach Brian Personett said. “We told the kids at the top of the sixth, ‘Hey, we’re running out of time. It’s got to happen now.’ We kind of challenged them. ‘Who’s going to step up and make this happen?’ They rose to the occasion.”
The North bats were quiet for most of the night, too, but unlike Seymour, the Bull Dogs were never able to break through with any sort of prolonged threat. Kelsay Lucas drove in Kat Boroughs on a hard hit single in the first, but North managed only two hits after the opening inning.
Sophomore Lo Schmidt was in the circle for the Owls and went the distance, giving up just the one run on four hits.
“She threw pretty well tonight,” Personett said. “North’s a good hitting team, and she only gave up four hits. She has the perfect mentality for a pitcher. You can look at her, and you have no idea whether things are going well or things are going bad. She pitched a heck of a ballgame tonight.”
The Bull Dogs, who remain winless in four games this season, will have to continue to look for the edge that will take them to their first triumph.
“We’re a work in progress,” Coffer said. “We have to mentally get over that hump. We get through five innings, but what do we need for six or seven? What is it going to take? How deep do we have to push ourselves to get over that hump?
“They have to decide, ‘This is what we want. This is what we’re going to go get.’” she said. “The talent is there, but it’s the mental breaks here and there that cost us big.”