Leader & Times staff report
Building a softball program doesn’t happen overnight, but the signs of increased competitiveness are starting to show even if the result has not ended with wins.
Liberal dropped two games to Dodge City Tuesday, but the Lady Redskins competed and had the lead before Dodge City rallied to victory.
“We were in it and let it go,” Liberal coach Pat Knott said.
Liberal dropped Game 1 11-4.
The Lady Redskins took a 1-0 lead in the first, but Dodge scored the tying run in the second. Liberal took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, but the Lady Red Demons responded with three runs on two hits and an error to take a 4-3 lead. Neither team scored in the fourth.
Dodge added three more runs in the fifth and nd five more in the sixth.
Liberal scored one in the seventh in the 11-4 loss.
Emily Bayouth led the Lady Redskins by going three for four and scoring three runs. Liberal stranded 10 runners on base.
Liberal again competed in Game 2, but disaster struck in the fourth when Dodge City scored 12 runs, and the Lady Redskins fell 17-4.
Liberal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in third, then gave up five runs on five hits and one error to fall behind 5-3
The Lady Redskins added a run in the top of the fourth, but the game ended in the bottom of the inning when Liberal gave up 12 runs on 12 hits and three errors to fall 17-4.
“We couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Knott said.
Liberal ended the regular season at 6-14 and will travel to Great Bend to play Valley Center (11-5) Tuesday.
The process of building the program has seem some improvement.
“We’re getting better in some areas,” Knott said. “Other teams are catching up to our pitching. defensively we show brilliance and then we go back to not making plays. When we show some consistency to the mental game, for all nine to play every pitch, we will get there.”
Twice the Lady Redskins were abel to retire Dodge City in order, a sign that the Lady Redskins can perform.
“Then they started hitting singles and doubles and we couldn’t get an out,” Knott said.
Knott said that the Lady Redskin offense is also starting to produce enough to win games if the defense can stop the opponents.
“We won’t score a lot of runs,” he said. “Four or five runs should be a victory for us. We have to shut the other team down.”
At this point, Knott no longer accepts inexperience as an excuse.
“The label of, ‘we are young’ is over,” he said “They have played enough.”
A goal of winning an opening game at Sub-State is still on the list, and after playing in the talented Western Athletic Conference, Knott believes that Liberal can still meet that goal.
“We could have won some WAC games this year,” he said. “That makes us better. Our third goal is to win a Sub-State game.”