TURNER — The first ground ball led to the first fielded play which led to the first error.
Before the game was one at-bat old, Leavitt was already throwing the ball around, and it was a trend that hampered the Hornets the rest of the day.
Nokomis took advantage with three runs in the first inning and hardly looked back in an 11-6 win over Leavitt. The Hornets had eight errors and allowed nine runs in the first four innings.
“If we could eliminate the mistakes, and it is a big ‘if’ for everybody, but in our case, we’re so young with seven new kids in there, that we can’t give a team five, six or seven outs in an inning,” said Leavitt coach Pete Higgins. “That’s what we’ve been doing.”
The Hornets had some solid pitching from Kayla Richardson and Adrie Newton and produced nine hits at the plate, but Leavitt was always behind by three or more runs and could never hold the Warriors long enough to rally. Kendra Ray led Leavitt (1-4) with three hits and one RBI while Shelby St. Pierre had two hits and drove in a run.
“It’s not about hitting,” said Higgins. “It’s about playing good, sound defense.”
Nokomis got two hits and an RBI from Marissa Shaw, who was also superb in the field at short. Ali Manson drove in a pair while Jessica Kent-Webber and Sabrina Vaillancourt each drove in runs.
“The way this league is, I’m not sure what the pitching is like,” said Nokomis coach J.D. McLellan. “So, I’m thinking bunt, bunt, bunt and then work it up. It seems to be working. It worked with Belfast the other day, and it worked with this team. It gets people thinking and if you think too much, mistakes happen.”
Leavitt had four errors in the first inning and Nokomis had a 3-0 lead before the Hornets even came to the plate. Vaillancourt and Heidi Wyman each scored on an error on a bunt and Kent-Webber scored on a wild pitch. In the second, Shaw singled in a run and a double by Kent-Webber scored Shaw for a 5-0 lead.
“It puts them on their heels and that’s what we try to do,” said McLellan of his team’s early execution.
Leavitt’s bats kept them within striking distance. In the bottom of the second, the Hornets cut the deficit to 5-2. Mariah Treadwell’s infield hit scored Emily Murphy, and St. Pierre followed with an RBI single.
Leavitt couldn’t stop the Warrior offense, which got a two-run double by Manson in the third. After Leavitt got a Murphy single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third to make it 7-4, Nokomis (3-2) added two in the fourth on errors and another in the fifth on a fielder’s choice.
“I was up four or five runs on them last year with the winner going to the playoffs, and they beat us,” said McLellan. “That’s why we were still trying to push. We try to be five or six runs ahead or else we get nervous.”
Leavitt made it 10-5 in the fifth when Murphy scored on an error and a Ray fielder’s choice scored Tori Zupancic following a triple in the sixth.
“We’ve got a lot of growing to do,” said Higgins. “That’s how you get it, by playing and getting experience, good or bad. That’s what you have to have to get better.”