An early loss in the West Central Conference Softball Tournament may prove to be a turning point in Smith-Cotton’s season.
The Lady Tigers won twice — 12-2 over St. Pius X, 9-8 over Nevada — to claim third Saturday in the WCC Tournament at Centennial Field in Sedalia, but not before a 7-5 loss to the top-seeded Clinton Cardinals.
Head coach Janeil Draffen said S-C’s Saturday morning loss was its best game of the season. The effort was so strong against Clinton, that a 12-2 victory over St. Pius X in game two of pool play was a disappointment.
“We were a little dead,” Draffen said. “Even the girls said it felt more like a loss than a win, especially coming off the first game … We got the win, and that’s the main thing. They’re talented enough to be a little dead and still get the win.
“The first game, that was the best seven innings they played all year.”
A Smith-Cotton 9-run second frame sunk St. Pius X. Maddy Kindle led off the inning with a stand-up triple to left. The Lady Tigers led 4-1 after five straight hits, and 9-1 by the inning’s end.
Sarah Bergman allowed one run in four innings. Despite the performance, she echoed Draffen and said the 7-5 loss to Clinton — in which the Lady Tigers nearly rallied from four runs back — was a game to remember.
“We stayed up the entire game,” Bergman said. “We all worked together really well.”
Smith-Cotton (3-13) hosts Jefferson City 5 p.m. Monday at Liberty Park in Sedalia.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2