By Dave Pearce
The North Posey Viking softball team opened the season this week. If there’s one thing the Vikings can take from the season-opening 12-0 loss to the Mater Dei Wildcats, it is the fact there is room for improvement.
Sophomore Haylee Elderkin was on the mound for the Vikings as No. 1 pitcher Ashley Schorr was attending a volleyball showcase in Indianapolis. Coach Gary Gentil was complimentary of the sophomore’s start, despite the fact she gave up some runs.
“We just didn’t hit the ball Saturday and if you can’t hit the ball, you can’t score,” Gentil said of the Vikings’ first outing. “Mater Dei has eight of their starters back from last year and they have such a strong junior class. They are really riding that junior class. It is full of good athletes. This is the third year for their pitcher.”
Several members of the team also participated in the Mater Dei basketball program which recently won back-to-back state basketball championships. But on Saturday, the theme was softball.
“But we just didn’t play very well at all,” Gentil said. “We showed our nerves and our inexperience. We settled in at different times and made the plays we know we can make, like the double play we got on them. We have the potential there but we just have to get more comfortable playing at this level.”
Elderkin appeared strong in the first couple of innings, despite Mater Dei getting a couple of early scores. But then the physical and mental errors of the Viking defense began piling up, making it increasingly more difficult for the young pitcher.
“We only have one hit and that was by Taylor Patton,” Gentil said. “Their pitcher moves the ball really well and for our fist game, it was a tough outing for us.”
Mater Dei was playing their third game, after having one game canceled this week. The Vikings’ only game so far this year was cancelled on Thursday evening due to the weather.
“We have some goals for Haylee and she struggled a little bit getting the ball too high,”” Gentil said. “But there were a couple of innings where the lead-off batter got on by either a physical or mental error and we should have gotten them out. And that hurts the way you approach the next batter.”
The Vikings get out of the frying pan and jump into the fire as they take a couple days off from practice for spring break. They will host an equally tough Henderson County team on Friday night before traveling to Carmi, Ill., on Saturday.”
“Their pitcher has been pitching for them since the seventh grade and then we come back to play Carmi on Saturday and they are one of the best teams in Southern Illinois,” Gentil said. “We have a lot of potential but we just need a little time and experience.”
By Dave Pearce
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