BAKER — Six strong innings weren’t enough for the Baker softball team as the Gators opened the 2013 season against Pine Forest on Monday.
Baker held the Eagles without a score until the top of the seventh inning when they pushed across two runs to take a 2-1 win over the Gators.
Baker (0-1) did little wrong most of the night.
Gator pitcher Macie Wilde was spot on most of the night striking out 11 batters in the first six innings. At one point she struck out seven of eight batters in a stretch that started in the first inning and went through the third.
She was equally effective keeping the Eagles off base as she gave up just two hits while walking two batters and hitting another with a pitch in the first six innings.
“It’s disappointing,” Baker coach John Carlisle said. “We are going to let it burn for one day and move forward.
“For six-and-a-third innings we played an outstanding defensive game. Macie pitched a heck of a ball game in the circle and was hitting spots early on. She had her game working.”
Baker scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Alexis Mitchem singled to start off the Gator rally. Mitchem moved to second as Jenna Stevenson was safe on an infield hit.
Mitchem and courtesy runner Kaitlyn Smith, who was running for Stevenson, advanced a base on a Kaitlan Godwin sacrifice. Mitchem scored from third on a wild pitch. But that was all there was to the rally.
Smith was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning as Jordan Linzy reached on a fielder’s choice. The inning ended for the Gators with Courtney Ellis grounding out to Eagle pitcher Rachel Munoz.
Baker stole a page from the Sunday night’s Super Bowl in the top of the fifth inning when, with two Pine Forest outs, the lights on the third base side of the diamond went out.
The lights were restored after about a 30 minute delay.
The Eagles (1-0) manufactured their two runs in the top of the seventh.
In what can only be described as a strange play, Pine Forest first baseman Miranda Kelley walked and stole second as the home plate umpire lost track of the count.
Kelley took third on a sacrifice and scored as Brittney Ward was safe on a swinging bunt.
Ward scored on a base hit by Jordyn Pulliam.
Baker tried to mount a two-out rally in the home half of the seventh when Ellis singled up the middle, but it wasn’t enough as the Eagles held on for the win.
Munoz, the Pine Forest pitcher, held Baker to just four hits. Linzy had a hit in addition to those by Mitchem, Stevenson and Ellis.
“The thing that hurt us is we gave away outs by getting fly ball outs,” Carlisle said. “There are no bad hops in the air. There is nothing you can do about that but to go back and readjust as a hitter.
“We made some adjustments in the (batter’s) box, but we just didn’t make enough to not stay off that bottom half of the ball. We are going to learn from this and use it as a building tool.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524