Lady Crusaders saddled with first loss

Young HTC girls squad exceeding expectations early on.


WEST POINT — The first loss of the season for Holy Trinity’s softball team didn’t dampen the optimism of coach Loren Menke.
The 8-1 defeat to Van Buren County on Friday night at South Park ended a week in which the Crusaders opened the season with wins over Danville and New London. For a team that has just one senior and no juniors, it was a way to build confidence.
“It’s been a great first week, to be honest with you,” Menke said. “We’re 2-1. The kids have exceeded my expectations. We’re super-young, super-inexperienced, and they’re doing things at an earlier stage than I thought we would be able to. And that’s really exciting for me, it’s really exciting for them.
“We’re further along in the process of rebuilding than I thought we would be. And I know we’ve got some good kids and we’ll be pretty solid. It’s just a question of how long it will take to get there.”
Van Buren (2-1 overall, 2-0 SEI Superconference South Division) has a deeper team with more experience, but the Warriors didn’t put this game away until late. Van Buren led just 3-1 through the first four innings before getting two runs in the fifth inning and three in the seventh.
“If it’s still 3-1 in the sixth or seventh, and you scratch out a run or two here, now all of the sudden it’s a different game,” Menke said.
There is an education, though, that comes with an inexperienced team. Menke saw that in his pitchers — Freshman Sydney Jarvis pitched just the first inning after a complete game in Thursday’s 6-1 win over New London. Freshman Ellie Hellman then pitched the final six innings.
“Sydney Jarvis pitched a seven-inning game last night. She’s probably never pitched a seven-inning game in her life,” Menke said. “She was pretty tired, and you could see that in the first inning tonight. Ellie probably pitched more innings in a game than she has in her life.
“It’s a learning curve. But I think they’re getting confidence. Van Buren’s a pretty good team, and I thought we did some good things.”
Holy Trinity’s lone run came in the first inning, when Emily Ross’ single scored Elizabeth Griffin.
Menke had the Crusaders play aggressive on the bases. Hellman was thrown out trying to score in the third inning, and Brooklyn Todd was thrown out trying to get to third base in the fourth inning after a throwing error.
“I feel with this team, we need to manufacture some runs,” Menke said. “I was probably a little more aggressive than I should have been, thinking we’ve got to get a run.”
The Crusaders play at Mediapolis and Winfield-Mount Union next week.
“I think we had to play perfect to beat a team like Van Buren,” Menke said. “But, you know, we’re not a long way away from them. They’re a good team, and they played a better game than us. But we’ve got a lot of confidence right now.”

Holy Trinity Catholic, high school, sports, softball, Lady Crusaders, Van Buren County, SEI Superconference Pen City Current,


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