FORT WALTON BEACH — Not that it will make her feel any better, but Baker softball pitcher Alexis Mitchem had one of those nights against Fort Walton Beach that even Hall of Famers experience at one time or another in their careers.
Mitchem walked four Vikings and hit another while giving up four runs in the first innings as Fort Walton Beach beat the Gators 9-2.
Baker coach John Carlisle took Mitchem’s tough outing in stride.
“You have to take it for what it is, it was a struggle,” he said. “She (Mitchem) had a rough night, but she will get her bullpen work in and she will come back and be ready to go.
“It was a rough night all the way around. We couldn’t overcome a shaky start. It was a little tough to overcome.”
The Vikings sent batters to the plate in the first inning and scored four runs on just one hit as Mitchem struggled with her control.
When she did find her spots Mitchem showed she had the stuff to shut down the Vikings as she also struck out two in the inning.
Mitchem’s night in the circle was finished after one inning as she moved to first base and Macie Wilde, who was at first, moved to pitcher.
Wilde went the rest of the way in the circle for the Gators (1-2) giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out seven Viking batters in five innings of work.
Fort Walton Beach added two runs in the second inning and two more in the fourth. The Vikings closed out their scoring with a run in the sixth inning.
In the mean time the Gators had their hands full with Fort Walton Beach pitcher Rachel Dehlinger. Dehlinger held the Gators hitless in five innings of work while giving up just one run. She also struck out seven.
Baker’s first score came in the third inning when Wilde led off with a walk. She proceeded to steal second and third base and scored as Haley Stanley grounded out to third base.
Baker picked up another run off of Viking relief pitcher Shannon Lord.
Stanley led off the inning with a single and moved to third base as Mitchem doubled. Stanley scored on a base hit off the bat of Jordan Linzy, but the inning ended with a double play erasing any hopes the Gators had of getting back into the game.
Wilde led off the Baker seventh inning with a double, but the Gators weren’t able to capitalize on the hit as the Vikings rolled to the win.
The game against Fort Walton Beach marked the third time in as many games that the Class 1A Gators faced a 6A team. They also were able to play Class 6A Crestview on Tuesday.
“We’ve got four 6A schools we are playing in our first four games and there’s a purpose for it,” Carlisle said. “I want to measure up against them and see how we compare.
“I’m thankful for scheduling those games and those people scheduling with us and it gives us an opportunity to set up for, in my eyes, one of the toughest districts in 1A ball and probably one of the most competitive as well. I know talent in our district and it’s tough and you have to get ready for it. Playing the bigger schools you get a little bit tougher pitching and a high caliber of pitching gives us that opportunity.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524