Mesa State softball team feels robbed after tournament loss

A 6-5 loss in the final game of the RMAC-Northern Sun Crossover softball tournament Sunday left Mesa State College with a bitter taste.

“They robbed us,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said of St. Cloud State, which went 1-5 in the tournament in Colorado Springs. The Mavericks finished 4-2. “We counted six catches in the outfield that were extra bases. They got burned on the ball and made last-second leaping attempts and caught them.

“It was ridiculous. We had a line drive at the left fielder and at the last second she dropped to one knee and caught it off the ground. It would have hit her in the ankle if she hadn’t done that. We counted six plays that we could have scored on.”

The Mavericks (4-2 overall) led 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh but a two-out RBI triple tied the game and an error allowed the winning run to score.

“They had a lot more speed and talent than their record shows,” Mort said of St. Cloud (2-12).

“They bunt and run and slap. I think they had two right-handers in the lineup, everybody else was a lefty and had a lot of speed.”

It was a different look than the other five teams the Mavericks played, all of which had big power hitters.

In the Mavs’ first game Sunday, Lauren Cross scored on Ashlee Duffy’s bunt single in the top of the eighth to break a 3-3 tie and give the Mavs a 4-3 win over Southwest Minnesota State.

The college tiebreaker rule was put in effect when the game went to extra innings, so Cross, who grounded out to end the seventh, was put on second base.

Meagan Hennessy bunted her to third and Sara Jordan beat out a bunt single, with Cross holding at third. Duffy followed with another bunt single and Cross beat the throw to the plate.
Jordan, who pitched in five of the Mavs’ six games, got a one-out strikeout and a ground ball to Lita Romero at third to end the game.

Jordan picked up the win in relief of Cierra Lard, who lasted only two innings, allowing three runs on one hit. She walked four and struck out two, but threw two wild pitches and hit a batter as she continues to work on mechanical changes to her delivery.

Jordan scattered three hits and struck out eight to pick up her second win of the season.

A couple of hours later she was back in the pitching circle, going the distance, allowing six runs on 10 hits. She walked three and struck out four.

The Mavs’ pitching is starting to concern Mort, who has had to use Jordan more than she wanted to.

“We need to find somebody who can go,” she said. “Nobody else showed this weekend. We pitched Ray (Jessica Rayman) for a few innings on Friday and that was it.

“I tried to go with someone else and it didn’t go too well, so we went back to Jordan. We threw Sara in the last game, thinking we could get a lead because we needed to go for a win.”

The Mavericks continued to hit the ball well, with a dozen hits in each game Sunday, but against St. Cloud, they left 12 runners on base.

Cross finished the tournament 10 for 18 with three doubles and four home runs. She scored 10 runs and drove in nine. Leadoff hitter Dani Vallie went 9 for 22 and scored nine runs, Jamie Prather had 10 hits, including three doubles, Gabi Parra had four doubles and Duffy three doubles and a home run.

Mesa State opens RMAC play Saturday and Sunday at Metro State. The Roadrunners went 5-1 in the crossover tournament. The nine RMAC teams went 32-21 against the nine teams from the Northern Sun.

“I told the girls we left it on the field,” Mort said of the disappointing loss. “We should have won. We hit the ball real hard, we just got robbed by their outfielders.”


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