The Ames Little Cyclones showed up at Berg Middle School on Thursday, having won four of their last six games, and they made it five of seven with their win over Newton’s softball team.
The Cardinals, after having scored in double figures for two straight games, lacked the aggressiveness that they are accustomed to on the offensive end, and one big inning by the Little Cyclones was enough to put the Cardinals away, 7-0.
“We struggles at the plate tonight,” Newton softball coach Ashley Ryan said. “We needed to stay focused and make adjustments at the plate, which we didn’t do.”
The game was tied, 0-0, for the first four innings until the Ames team exploded for seven big runs in the fifth inning, which turned out to be the team’s only runs of the game.
The Cardinals were unable to generate much of anything momentum-wise at the plate.
The three Cardinal batters in the bottom of the first inning each struck out. In the bottom of the second inning, Pitcher Ashton Hoffman got to second base on a one-out double, but her teammates were unable to bring her around to score.
The Cardinals would not have another runner reach base for the next couple of innings, until Kari Adams walked in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Each of the Cardinal batters put the ball into play in the bottom of the seventh inning. However, none of those balls put into play amounted to hits for the Cards, and the game ended in rather short order.
Hoffman started the game and faced 17 of the Ames batters. She had a terrific outing despite the lone big inning.
Hoffman gave up six hits, two walks, seven runs (two earned), while striking out two batters. She took the loss on the night for the Cardinals, her fifth on the season.
“We really only had that one bad inning,” Ryan said. “Outside of that, our defense played well.”
The loss moves Cardinals to 4-6 on the season, and given their recent success, the lack of aggressiveness at the plate by the Cardinal girls was likely more of an aberration than anything else.
It wasn’t a terribly important game for the Cardinals within the scope of the season.
The team’s first and foremost goal is to make noise in the Little Hawkeye Conference, which is what it did on Wednesday night with its big victory over the Grinnell Tigers.
Newton faces Oskaloosa tonight, and the Cardinals will be looking to bounce back after their disappointing loss.
A win would definitely help them make up some ground in the LHC, along with giving them some confidence going forward into the middle part of the season.