CLAYTON — A pair of first-inning errors proved costly Thursday for the Troy softball team as Northmont managed to push a pair of runs across to take an early 2-0 lead.
Those errors loomed even larger in the top of the seventh when the Trojans scored three runs before Northmont stopped the bleeding to preserve an 8-7 victory.
“We gave it everything we had, but the plays at the beginning of the game came back to haunt us,” said Troy coach Scott Beeler. “We made some mistakes early that we just couldn’t recover from. That happens. That’s softball.”
An infield error let Kyra Rottgen reach base and an outfield error put Kassie Keleman aboard, and Sierra Caskey followed with a two-run single to give the Thunderbolts an early advantage. Northmont increased its lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the second inning on a pair of bunt singles, a walk and two singles to left field.
Northmont increased its lead t0 8-0 in the bottom of the third on a walk by Maddie Gilvin and a two-out single to left by Carmynn Bonner, who advanced to second on the throw to third. Kyra Rottgen followed with an opposite-field single down the left-field line to score both runners.
Troy cut that deficit in half in the top of the fifth. Lexi Piper led off with a single to right and scored on a two-out double to deep center field by Lauren Fonner. Fonner advanced to third on a wild pitch. Megan Malott reached first on a dropped third strike and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Josie Rohlfs then singled to drive in two runs, and Paige Nadolny doubled off the top of the center field fence to score Rohlfs.
The Trojans nearly tied the game in the top of the seventh inning. Madelynn Lavender drew a leadoff walk and Fonner followed with a two-run homer over the right-center field fence to cut Northmont’s lead to 8-6. After Bonner recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Nadolny doubled to center. A wild pitch and back-to-back fielding errors made it an 8-7 game, but Bonner struck out Piper to end the threat.
“I am proud of the girls because they haven’t quit,” Beeler added. “We are 1-9 and they haven’t quit on each other, and most teams would have quit by now. These girls believe in each other, and they know that we are a good ball team. Northmont coach Kris Mangen and I were talking before the game. We have both played some tough teams this year at the beginning of the season. Both of us are heading into our division schedule now where, if we can get some solid wins, we can get a decent seed in the tournament and get a chance to play well in the postseason.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind