At one point in the bottom of the third inning of Friday's game between La Salle-Peru and Morris, Lady Cavaliers coach Mike Schmidt had seen enough. His team had just watched a three-run lead evaporate before he went out to the mound to pronounce a wake-up call.
"I was more frustrated with the energy level of the team than anything," Schmidt said. "At that point in the game, I just wanted to make sure that we stayed on top of that. I wanted to re-focus the team and they responded."
Indeed they did, the Cavaliers got out of the inning, then scored three in the top of the fourth and one each in the fifth and sixth innings en route to an 8-5 win over the Redskins.
"It came down to unearned runs again today. That's going to kill us every time. Without the unearned runs, I think we are looking at a different outcome," Morris coach Jen Lowery said. "We also need to get some people hitting in the middle of the lineup ... the middle needs to start making contact."
Morris made three more errors in Friday's game to run its total to six in the first two games. Two errors in the third inning, one by the leftfielder and one by the first baseman led to L-P getting out to that 3-0 lead.
The lack of proficiency on defense to this point in the season can be attributed to the poor weather this spring and lack of outdoor time. Still, L-P only made one error on Friday and Sterling played errorless defense in the opener on Thursday.
"We're rusty," Schmidt conceeded. "Counting this game, this actually makes just five times we've been outside to this point."
So how much of the defense is mental and how much is physical?
"I think it's a little of both," Lowery said. "I think it is to fresh in the head of some of the players that we haven't been outside a lot."
Still, the locals responded to that by getting a four-spot in the bottom of the inning.
"We did bounce back, the same as we did yesterday," Lowery said. "The girls didn;t give up and played to the last out."
Down 3-0, Morris got going in the bottom of the third. Leah Lines began the inning with a double and Maddy Feeney walked and took second without a throw. Lauren Severson got the Redskins on the board with an RBI bunt single and Laney Torkelson then added an RBI while reaching first on a fielder's choice. She then stole second. Erica Gualandi finished the scoring with an RBI double. Taya Torkelson kept the inning alive with a bunt single, which prompted the visit in the circle by Schmidt to rally the troops.
"They pretty much needed to re-focus," Schmidt said. "At that point, I didn't want it to turn into a bigger inning that it was at that point already."
Alex Kjellesvik did extent the inning with a single, but winning pitcher Brittany Zawacki did get off the hook without further damage. She went all seven innings, yielding nine hits and walking two while striking out five.
"We should have done a better job against her the second and third time through the lineup," Lowery said. "By that point, you should be used to a pitcher."
That's certainly what appeared to be happening with the L-P lineup.
In the top of the fourth, L-P scored three times with the big shot coming off the bat of Abby Turcyn. She had a bases clearing double with two outs. The Cavaliers then scored in the fifth on a triple by Haley Wren and an RBI single by Brianna Zeman. In the sixth, Turcyn singled, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single by Wren.
Morris did mount a small rally with two outs in the seventh when Laney Torkelson doubled and scored on a single by Gualandi, but Zawacki finished off the game and the 8-5 win.
The Redskins are now 0-2 on the season. They play again on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at home against Reed-Custer.