The third inning was costly for Trinity Lutheran High School’s softball team Tuesday evening.
The Cougars gave up five runs — all with two outs — to the Hornets in top half of the third inning, as they dropped their game 7-2 to Henryville.
The Hornets used nine batters in the inning and the Cougars defense committed two errors.
The Cougars committed seven errors throughout the game and only gave up two earned runs out of the seven the Hornets scored.
The two earned runs came off the Hornets’ Peyton Ottersbach’s two-run home run in the inning. That hit gave her team the 5-1 lead in the top of the third.
Assistant coach Libby Followell said the defense in the inning and throughout the game hurt the team’s ability to keep the scoreboard low.
“We had some errors late in the inning with two outs and the short game kind of got us,” she said. “We had some short throws and one thing kind of led to another.”
Followell added that it was frustrating the five runs came with two outs and said the team typically plays a sharper defense.
“It was just an off night for that part of the game,” she said.
Despite the errors, the Cougars defense did show flashes of great strength throughout the game.
During the first inning, the Hornets grounded into a double play where catch Jodi Goecker completed a play at the plate to get senior Reagan Hensley and threw out senior Hannah Nunn attempting to advance to third on the play.
Goecker threw Hensley out a third again during the fifth inning when she tried to advance to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore shortstop Savannah Harweger made an athletic play at third, diving to tag Hensley out.
Junior Morgan Gabbard pitched a complete game for the Cougars, giving up eight hits, seven runs, three strike outs and one walk over seven innings. Only two of Gabbard’s runs were earned.
Followell said Gabbard pitched well for the team and did what coaches wanted her to do.
“Morgan put it everywhere that I asked her to put it and hit her corners; off-speed was good, she was doing what we needed her to do,” she said.
The Cougars were able to score another run in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead 5-2, but that’s as close as the Cougars would get.
The Hornets scored two runs in the top of the seventh and held on to the lead in the bottom half to claim the victory.
“The difference between this weekend and tonight was our spirit was back and our fire was back,” Followell said. “We’re playing as a team, we’re cheering as a team, we’re talking as a team and we’ve decided win or lose, we’re doing it together.”
Followell said the team’s offense is also improving despite only garnering three hits against Henryville.
“We’re not going down looking and we are making good contact,” she said. The Cougars only struck out four times at the plate during Tuesday’s game.
Harweger led the team’s offense with two hits and a run. Junior Hannah Deaton scored the other run after drawing a walk.
The Cougars (6-4) will travel to South Ripley Thursday evening.