It wasn’t the start of the third round that Coach Sonya Wallace and her North Pike Jaguars were looking for on the softball diamond Saturday night. After grabbing the lead early, the Jaguars struggled to maintain it, falling to the Florence Eagles 5-2.
“We couldn’t get the hits back-to-back and then we just made some defensive errors that just sort of gave Florence the boost that they needed,” Wallace said. “We struggled to make the routine play on bunt coverage and we had some overthrows.”
Kaylea Wagner got things going in the first inning for the Jaguars (19-10). Facing one out, she tripled to right before ensuing batter Meredith Bates brought her home, while grounding out.
The one-run advantage did not last long for North Pike as Florence bounced right back with a pair of scores in the bottom half of the inning, on a fielder’s choice and a steal of home.
The Jaguars tried to answer back, but could not find the consistency at the plate, getting retired in order in the second.
That lack of consistency hurt in the bottom half of the inning as the Eagles plated two additional runs, taking advantage of a pair of Jaguar mistakes.
North Pike had an opportunity to inch closer in the fourth. With one out, Averi Paden walked before Sydney Williams singled to center allowing Paden to advance to third. However, a pair of strikeouts to the next two Jaguar batters left the runners stranded.
Defensive struggles continued to haunt the Jaguars in the fifth. A walk, an error and a single loaded the bases for the host Eagles. Two batters later another Florence player successfully stole home increasing the deficit to four for North Pike.
The Jaguars could not answer in the sixth but began to get into a bit of a rhythm in the seventh. Singles from Joli Spears and Tristen Tolar put two runners on before Layne Greer hit into a fielder’s choice allowing Spears to score. North Pike tried to keep the rally going but could not as Florence got a pop out giving Game 1 to the Eagles.
Greer led the Jaguars with a pair of hits. Both Wagner and Spears each had a hit and a run scored.