Cross' injury overshadows pair of losses for Mavs
It was anything but a typical college softball doubleheader.
Not when the teams combined for 52 runs, 63 hits, 10 errors and used 10 pitchers.
Throw in one player reaching on a catcher’s interference and one runner being called out on interference, the 5 hour, 15-minute doubleheader Wednesday afternoon and night between Colorado Mesa University and Fort Lewis College at Bergman Field was, well, bizarre.
Fort Lewis (10-9, 8-2 RMAC) swept the doubleheader 18-15, 10-9, each time scoring three runs in the top of the seventh inning to win.
Not to be overlooked was a knee injury to the Mavericks’ senior third baseman, Lauren Cross, in the second game.
CMU coach Kris Mort didn’t know the extent of the injury immediately after the game.
In the fourth inning of the second game, Cross grounded the ball to second base, but never got out of the batter’s box. When she swung, her right knee buckled and she hit the ground, screaming in pain and grabbing her knee.
After several minutes, she was helped off the field and taken to the training room. Two years ago, Cross broke an ankle and received a medical redshirt season, electing to return for a fifth season and work toward a second degree.
“I didn’t see it, I was watching the ground ball and I looked up and saw her laying there,” Mort said. “I didn’t see the finish of her swing, so I have no idea what happened.
“I think she’s scared; it’s already happened once with the broken ankle and she came back to get another degree in order to play and here we are 14 games into the year and same situation. I don’t know if she’s scared, but I think she’s definitely hurting.”
After Cross’ injury, the ball was ruled a foul ball, infuriating Fort Lewis coach Kira Zeiter, because Cross had been thrown out at first on the grounder to second.
Mackenzy Derrick replaced Cross and inherited a 1-2 count, but hit into a double play. Courtney Maihi followed with a two-run home run to trigger Mesa’s four-run inning and give the Mavericks (8-6, 6-4) a 7-6 lead.
They extended it to 9-6 in the fifth, but Maihi couldn’t hold the lead, allowing one run in the sixth and a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the seventh to Myndee Thompson.
“Courtney was successful with the rise ball in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and I come out and throw a rise ball to a new hitter who hasn’t seen her and she goes yard on her on the first pitch on an inside rise ball?” Mort said.
“Courtney’s been getting popups to (second baseman Lisa) Pille all game long on that and yet we give up a home run and can’t close the door.”
Mesa (8-6, 6-4) committed six errors in the doubleheader, four in the second game, three in the second inning that led to the Skyhawks’ five-run outburst.
In the opener, the Mavericks’ Ashley Pulido allowed 18 runs on 18 hits. Normally, Mort would make a pitching change to give the opposing batters a different look, but right now, she’s not sure what she’s going to get out of the bullpen.
“I probably should be switching pitchers, but that’s a hard decision to make when we’re not getting consistency out of our pitchers when they do have an opportunity to throw,” she said.
Fort Lewis hit five home runs in the first game and 11 of the Skyhawks’ 18 hits were for extra bases.
Mort knows her team can hit and put up runs, it’s a matter of preventing the other team from doing the same. The Mavericks have committed 28 errors in 14 games — with a veteran club.
“I would have never in a million years have guessed replacing one outfielder in our defense would make our defense (struggle),” she said, “my entire infield and two of three outfielders, that we’d be booting the ball around on defense and panicking the way we are.”