By JIM ELLIOTT
GLEN DALE - If you're not a regular watcher of Meadowbrook softball games and you happened to catch Thursday's 4-1 loss to John Marshall, you might have left scratching your head.
John Marshall’s Morgan Watson, right, slides home safely Thursday as Meadowbrook catcher Abby Dudly loses control of the ball.
Photo by Jim Elliott
Starting pitcher Mauri DeLong faced 11 batters in the first three innings. Seven of the outs she recorded were strikeouts. The other two were bouncers back to the circle. She also yielded three hits and one run in what was a 1-1 game.
When Colts (4-1) took the field for the fourth inning, DeLong was replaced by Erin Endly in the circle.
Was she hurting?
Nope, that's just how Meadowbrook coach Bridget George plays it.
''That's what we've been doing all season,'' George said. ''We decided when we have needed to beat some good teams, we haven't been able to do that with a single pitcher. So we're trying something different. It had been working for us. We're just trying to mix it up. Little bit of off-speed with a little bit of speed.''
It's true. For the most part, DeLong kept the Monarchs off-balance by staying low on the radar gun and in the strike zone, save for an RBI single by Sissy George in the top of the third.
Endly brought the heat when she toed the rubber.
''That's probably more of what we were used to,'' John Marshall coach Ed West said.
To that end, the Monarchs (2-2) touched up Endly for three runs in the fifth inning, including a two-run double by George and an RBI single by Kylie Howard, to break things open a bit.
Then they left everything up to southpaw Amy Rotriga, who had battled a bout of wildness through the season's first few games.
Not this time.
Rotriga struck out seven and gave up four hits in getting in and out. She ended things with a strikeout of Alysie Dudley with two on in the seventh.
''She looked pretty sharp,'' West said. ''I don't know if it was something technique-wise or confidence-wise - I don't know what the problem was - but she's working it out and she definitely threw the ball better (Thursday).''
The top of the seventh wound up being more of the same for the Colts, who stranded seven runners, including DeLong, who had doubled, and No. 9 hitter Sami Frizell, who had singled in the last frame.
''It's not as much pitching backfired as we just didn't hit the ball,'' Coach George said. ''When we have runners in scoring position, we've got to execute and get those runners across.''
George wound up 2-for-3 with three RBI.
''Sissy does a good job,'' West said. ''She's helped us out a couple of times already this year and she had a big hit (Thursday) and I'm sure she'll continue to do so.''