By Steve Joos
“If you don’t hit, you can’t win.”
That’s been New Harmony softball coach Jeff Moore’s mantra all season and that was the cas
e early last week when Boonville came calling.
The visiting Boonville Lady Pioneers struck for seven runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back as they routed the Lady Rappites 12-0 in five innings under the 10-run rule
“If you don’t get any hits, you’re not going to win the game,” Moore said. “And (Boonville’s pitcher) no-hit us. She didn’t give up a hit. We had seven or eight base runners, but we couldn’t get the hit when we needed it.”
It’s a mantra that New Harmony fans are probably tired of hearing, Moore said, but it has been all too often the case this year, the coach said.
The Lady Rappites were swinging, but they weren’t able to make contact or when they did, were simply hitting pop-ups or grounders against a hurler that Moore didn’t think was all that fast, but had a good change-up and that may have kept the team off balance.
And they were in a deep hole early in the contest, as Boonville followed up the seven-run first inning with three more in the top of the second to lead 10-0.
New Harmony twice loaded the bases, in the second inning on walks to Abby Deckard, Madison Worman and Jessica Deckard-Mills, but Alyssa Scherzinger struck out to end that threat.
They juiced the sacks again in the fourth, on three straight two out walks, only to have a pop fly to short end that threat.
Two more runs in the top of the fifth salted the game away for the Lady Pioneers.
Moore felt bad for the team, adding that the Lady Rappites are a better team than their record suggests. “We scored the outfield back and they hit several right in front of us,” Moore said. “We moved them in and they hit several over our heads. You can’t win.”
Errors were another problem, Moore added. After a series of multiple miscues cost the Lady Rappites both ends of a doubleheader at Shoals, the infield committed more errors against Boonville.
The team may be distracted by some outside concerns, the coach said, most prominently the closing of school, but he added that they would keep trying.
The Lady Rappites’ game with Wood Memorial set for Friday was cancelled due to a lack of available pitching.
Number two hurler Kelsey Owen was unable to pitch Friday, which would have left top pitcher Morgan Matthews on the mound for the game with the Lady Trojans, as well as two tournament games, Moore said.
•The hits started coming Saturday, as the Lady Rappites closed out the last home softball season in school history by sweeping their invitational tournament.
Morgan Matthews was big on the mound and at the plate, tossing four-hitter as New Harmony blanked Agape Christian 10-0 in five innings for the championship.
The junior also collected three hits, capping a day where she went seven for eight at the dish.
“Everybody hit the ball, ‘’ Moore said. “Everybody contributed to the effort.”
The Lady Rappites played what Moore called their best game of the season in the tourney opener, as 12-2 rout of Cannelton which lasted six innings due to the 10-run rule.
“We actually hit the ball,” the coach said. “We had 13 hits, scored 12 runs and one error. That was the most important thing.”
Morgan Matthews went the distance and gave new meaning to the phrase
”a pitcher helping her own cause” by collecting four hits and getting on base five times. Matthews hit two doubles and two triples, including one of the longest balls ever hit at the New Harmony softball field, a shot of the top of the center field fence on the fly.
“She’s our number three hitter,” Moore said. “She’s meat. We hit the ball, when you hit the ball, you score runs.”
Matthews’ blast came in the top of the first inning, as the Lady Rappites were scoring five runs and basically putting the game away.
After the Lady Bulldogs scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, New Harmony pulled away gradually and Matthews shut the door. The lone Lady Rappite error led to one of those Cannelton runs.
New Harmony then scored a run here, a run there and finally built a 10-run lead on an RBI single by Worman in the top of the sixth inning.
Everyone got a lesson one hit in the game.
Kendall Wilson banged out a pair of hits against Cannelton, as did Kendall Morris.
The coach hoped this would give the girls some confidence heading into Monday’s Sectional opener.
While acknowledging the difficulty of the task ahead (New Harmony drew defending state champion Tecumseh), he also wanted his team to make the trip with confidence after winning the tournament and playing well in their last six games. The Lady Rappites took a 4-8 record into the Sectional.