By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SPRINGFIELD -- Effingham County had an encouraging start just two batters into its softball game with visiting Glynn Academy on Thursday night.
Three batters into the game, the Rebels began a discouraging trend.
ECHS went hitless in seven opportunities with runners in scoring position and was throttled for the second time this season by the Red Terrors, 3-1, in a key Region 2-AAAAAA contest.
“Timely hitting wasn’t in our favor, but we’ll bounce back,” Rebels coach Jane Trzaska said.
Seemingly, ECHS (5-5, 2-3) had begun its bounce back a week ago. The Rebels entered Thursday producing 32 runs while building a four-game winning streak.
And they hoped to show the 1-0 loss to Glynn on Aug. 17 was an anomaly. Before that setback, only Richmond Hill and South Effingham had beaten ECHS in regular-season region games since 2015.
Thursday, Rylee Mills led off the Rebels’ first inning with a walk. Pinch runner Nebraska Ellison went to second on a wild pitch and scored when the Terrors misplayed Olivia Morgan’s bunt.
Morgan then went to second on a wild pitch.
But the next three batters couldn’t advance her.
A painful six more innings followed a similar script. The Rebels left runners at first and second with two outs in the second inning, a runner at second with one out in the third inning and bases loaded with two outs in the sixth.
ECHS had chances fueled by five walks and two errors but managed only two hits. Eight Rebels were left stranded -- five in scoring position.
“We have to learn to make adjustments at the plate,” Trzaska said. “Their pitcher (Kamila Vicente) was throwing the same thing over and over (keeping the pitches high and inside). We knew what she was throwing. We didn’t make her change her game plan.”
Glynn third baseman Katie Wagner also came up with some key defensive stops to stymie potential scoring innings. Her diving catch of Emma Reynolds’ blast down the third-base line loomed large after the Rebels loaded the bases in the sixth inning with Glynn clinging to a 2-1 lead.
Wagner had another diving stop of Enna Lackey’s slap hit down the line to lead off the seventh.
Along with her glove, Wagner’s bat contributed two hits and drove in two runs.
ECHS’ righthander Mills surrendered nine hits but pitched well to limit Glynn’s scoring. She struck out seven and walked none.
But the Terrors (6-4, 3-1) did just a little more offensively. Again.
“The same thing that happened down there, happened here,” Trzaska said. “We had runners in scoring position. We couldn’t get timely hits.”