A&M Consolidated lost in its best defensive game of the softball season largely because of two catches that weren’t made.
The Woodlands College Park broke away in the late innings, claiming a 7-2 victory over Consol in a District 14-5A game on Monday afternoon.
Wet field conditions forced the game to be played at College Station High School. The Lady Tigers delivered enough nice defensive plays on the foreign turf to put themselves in position to make the short ride home a happy one, but two near-misses in the outfield prevented Consol from its first league win.
Key play No. 1 came as Consol (11-11, 0-4) batted in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Hallie Zimmerman sent a sinking liner into right field that College Park’s Chelsea Dowell charged and knocked down on a short hop. The runner from third scored, but the runner on first was unsure whether Dowell would catch the ball in the air and she was forced out at second.
That turned the would-be hit into an RBI fielder’s choice. Even worse, it turned into an inning-ending double play when, in the confusion, the runner who started on second tried to score and was out at the plate.
Consol had to settle for a 1-1 tie, and its best scoring chance was gone.
“That was monumental,” Consol coach Rusty Erwin said. “I was telling the girl to go back to second base because I thought [Dowell] caught it, but the girl thought I told her to go home. That was a base hit into a double play.”
The 10th-ranked Lady Cavaliers (12-2, 2-1) took command with four runs in the sixth. Two nice defensive plays by shortstop Kayla Bowman to start the inning preceded a bunt single, a bloop single and an RBI hit to limit College Park to a not-so-daunting 2-1 lead.
After a walk loaded the bases, Julie Charbonneau lifted a fly ball to the opposite field that couldn’t be tracked down by turning left-fielder Ally Herrera. Three runs scored on the double, making it 5-1.
The play wasn’t an error, but it was an exception on a day Consol got good defense from second baseman Madison Brooks, third baseman Beth Ashley and Bowman.
“Defensively that’s the best we’ve played all year,” Erwin said. “If we can keep playing defense like that, we’ll win some games.”
College Park pushed the lead to 7-1 in the seventh with a two-run double by leadoff hitter Julie French, one of three Lady Cavs with three hits on the day.
The Lady Tigers managed just three hits against Peyton Hutchens. Bowman singled and scored in the fourth. Paige Kopetsky had an infield single in the sixth and Brooks added a single as Consol scored a run in the seventh.
Lady Cavs 7, Lady Tigers 2
College Park 010 004 2 — 7 14 0
Consol 000 100 1 — 2 3 0
Ashley Contreras and Hallie Zimmerman. Peyton Hutchens and Ally Holland. W -- Hutchens. L -- Contreras, 5-8. 2B -- College Park: Julie French, Julie Charbonneau. Records: College Park 12-2, 2-1; Consol 11-11, 0-4.