COAL CITY – Wilmington softball took an early lead and added just enough to it to hold off a late-charging Coal City team, 8-6, Thursday in Interstate Eight Conference.
Coal City actually out-hit Wilmington, 10-6, but the Coalers made seven of the game’s 10 errors.
“It was an ugly game all around,” Wilmington coach Jack Skole said. “It was more or less not us beating them but them kinda helping us win, and the same could have been said if they could have beat us.”
Wilmington (4-4, 2-1) scored twice in the top half of the first, with one run coming home on a wild pitch, and another doing so on a Kate Johnston RBI groundout. The damage may have been worse had the Coalers not turned a 6-3-5 double play to end the inning.
A total of six unearned runs came home for the Wildcats in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. Singles by Ashley Adermann and Miranda Southall started their two-run rally in the third, and they plated single runs in the other three innings.
“We’re struggling defensively as a team,” Coal City coach Stephanie Harmon said. “We’re a very young team, and I think digging ourselves holes, it’s really hard to get back out of that. We’re really struggling with that right now.”
Coal City (3-6, 1-2 I-8) threatened in the first, when Taylor Meents hit a leadoff single, getting to second on an error on the play. A sacrifice bunt by Carly Pavlis put Meents at third with one out, but Southall kept her stranded there. Pavlis’s bunt was the first of nine straight outs made by the Coalers – a streak she ended with a single leading off their half of the fourth.
The Coalers finally broke through in the sixth. With one out, Pavlis and Makenna Emerson singled. Southall got a second out, before Abbey Spasia opened the floodgates with a two-run single. Emily Aichele and Leah Campos followed with an RBI single and an RBI double, respectively. Southall hit Mady Bunton with a pitch before getting a groundout to end the inning.
Two more runs came across, with the help of three Wilmington errors, in the bottom of the seventh before Southall finally put the Coalers away with the tying run on base.
“Offensively, it has not been a problem for us. We tend to score runs,” Harmon said. “Defensively is where we need to work on.”
Aichele took the loss, even though just two of the runs she allowed were earned. She had three strikeouts.