Big Spring's Jillian Valle launches a home run during the Lady Steers' game with Abilene Wylie Tuesday afternoon. (HERALD photo/Tony Claxton)
If the Big Spring Lady Steers ever get over their unfortunate tendency to give away runs, they could become a force in District 5-3A.
For the second game in a row, the Lady Steers dug themselves a hole too deep to climb out of, allowing six unearned runs in the first inning en route to dropping a 10-8 decision to Abilene Wylie in district softball action at the Big Spring ISD softball complex Tuesday.
There was a silver lining of sorts, however â€” staring at a 10-4 third inning deficit, Big Spring swore off its generous ways on defense, then launched a rally that resulted in the Lady Steers having the tying run at the plate in their last at-bat.
That his team was so competitive, despite its mistakes, had Head Coach John Sparks feeling somewhat optimistic about the Lady Steers' chances this season.
â€śIt's like I told the girls after the game: 'We're 1-3 in district, but every team in this district is beatable, and every team in this district is beatable by you,'â€ť Sparks said. â€śSo, it's time to see what this team is made of.â€ť
Sparks hopes the Lady Steers' character is more exemplified by what they showed the final four innings of Tuesday's game, because what transpired at the beginning doesn't bode well for future success at all.
Big Spring defensive miscues in the form of three errors allowed Wylie to score six runs in the first inning, and things got worse for the Lady Steers before they got better.
After the Lady Steers parlayed four singles, a pair of sacrifice bunts and a Wylie error into three runs in the bottom of the second to cut their deficit to 6-3, Wylie responded in its next at-bat with four runs on six hits â€” all singles â€” to push its lead to 10-3.
That's when Big Spring apparently decided enough was enough. Relief pitcher Valerie Ross and her defensive teammates shut down the Lady Bulldogs the rest of the way, and the Lady Steers started finding their rhythm at the plate.
Big Spring got three runs back in its half of the third, thanks to four hits and a Wylie error, to cut the defict down to 10-6, then tightened things even further in the fourth inning.
Jillian Valle provided the offensive spark in the inning, launching a two-run home run to left center that also scored Logan Yarbar, who had led off the stanza with a single.
But that's as close as the Lady Steers got. Twice in the later innings, Big Spring had the tying run at the plate, but hit into inning-inning double plays both times.
â€śIt was just too little, too late,â€ť Sparks said. â€śI'm proud of the way they battled back, though. I'm OK with that. We just have to find a way to battle all the way through the game.â€ť
The Lady Steers return to action Friday when they play Alpine in a non-district game in Monahans.
Ab. Wylie 604 000 0 â€” 10 14 4
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