It looked like Augusta’s softball team was in good position after jumping out to a 3-0 lead over Rose Hill in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, especially with Gracie Johnston in the circle.
The Rockets had other ideas, though. They hit a three-run home run in the fourth to tie the game. Augusta later led 6-3, but the Rockets came back again and tied it in the top of the seventh.
The Orioles got the last word, though. Sophie Johnston singled, and courtesy runner Mackenzie Kirk showed her wheels with a steal. After Kirk reached third on a passed ball, Abby Emmitt ended the game with a walk-off RBI single to lift Augusta to a 7-6 win.
Rose Hill dampened the Orioles’ day with a win in Game 2, though. The Rockets jumped out to a 2-0 lead early, then extended it to 4-0 in the fifth. Augusta couldn’t get enough offense going in an 8-3 loss to settle for a split. The Orioles are still looking for continuity from game to game.
“Game 2 we get down two runs, and it’s like we’re down 10,” coach Shane Steinkamp said. “I said to them in the fourth inning we looked like we were done.”
The loss put the Orioles back at .500, a place they haven’t been this late in the season maybe in the entire history of the program, which dates back to 1993. Steinkamp said frustration is mounting with the team.
“We’re in a difficult situation. My teams always give effort, and we don’t have the effort. We don’t have the attitude and the mentality that we expect to win. We hope to win or wonder ‘Will we win?’ My teams expect to win, but we’re not there. We lack everything we’re trying to do right now,” Steinkamp said.
He emphasized with his team, though, that their goal is still well within reach.
“We’re all frustrated, but May 16 is a ways away. We’ve got time to go. I told them we’ll get the answers, and we’ll make a run,” Steinkamp said.
In Game 1, the Orioles’ offense was well-tuned. Kourtney Divine and Katie Payne drew back-to-back walks with two outs in the opening inning, then Sophie reached on an infield single to load the bases.
A tough turn of events happened as Madison Wheeler came to the plate. She fouled off a pitch, then had to step out after appearing to hurt her wrist. She returned late in the game, but for the most of the game, Caitlyn Divine stepped in at shortstop for her.
Emmitt took Wheeler’s place at the plate, and she delivered. She knocked a two-RBI single to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
Taylor Hinnenkamp slapped an opposite-field single to lead off the Orioles’ second, then an error in the outfield allowed her to reach second. Bailey Pennycuff later came through with a two-out RBI double, though she later got picked off at third base to end the inning.
Rose Hill led off the fourth with a single, then converted a bunt single to get two on. That’s when the Rockets tied the game 3-3 on one swing.
The Orioles again gained control of the game. Kourtney Divine doubled with one out, then Payne singled to get runners on the corners. Sophie converted an infield RBI single after Rose Hill tried to throw out Kourtney at home and missed. Emmitt later ripped an RBI single to push it to 5-3. Alison Macari hit a fielder’s choice to score another run and give Augusta a 6-3 lead.
But the Rockets would not go quietly. The Orioles helped with some defensive miscues, though. They misplayed a couple infield hits with runners on third that prevented outs, which allowed Rose Hill to score two runs during the course of the inning.
In the seventh, Rose Hill hit two singles to get runners in scoring position, then came up big with an RBI single to tie the game 6-6. The Orioles stiffened to keep the Rockets from taking the lead as they left two runners on. That set the stage for the Orioles to get the walk-off win.
In Game 2, the Orioles trailed the entire game. They finally got some offense going in the fifth by getting multiple baserunners on with only one out, but they only managed to cross one runner to break up the shutout at 4-1.