BKW softball plays well, loses in extra innings, 7-5

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Winning slide: Mayfield’s Julie Hampton, right, scores what became the winning run last Thursday against Berne-Knox-Westerlo in the top of the eighth inning. Bulldogs’ pitcher, Kaitlyn Curvin, who doesn’t have the ball in her glove here — it’s rolling away — threw a high wild pitch, giving Hampton the opportunity to score from third base. BKW lost, 7 to 5.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Ball or strike? Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Mayfield played an entertaining softball game in Berne last Thursday, going to extra innings, as the Panthers won in eight innings, 7 to 5. Here, Kaitlyn Curvin takes a pitch for the Bulldogs during the game. BKW is 0-4.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Thumbs up! Players from the Berne-Knox-Westerlo softball team put their hands up for a cheer between innings during a home game against Mayfield last Thursday. The Bulldogs lost in eight innings, 7 to 5.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Taking a rip at the softball is Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s Michaela Horlacher during the sixth inning of last Thursday’s game against Mayfield. The Bulldogs scored in the inning to tie the contest, 5 to 5, but BKW lost in extra innings, 7 to 5. 

BERNE — When the wind gusts weren’t forcing random pauses in the action so that the players could prevent their eyes from being caked in dirt, Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Mayfield played an entertaining softball game full of hits, runs, and difficult defensive stops.

The Bulldogs and the Panthers were evenly matched; the game had to be decided in extra innings.

BKW had a 4-to-2 lead in the sixth inning, but some errors mixed with some hits and stolen bases by Mayfield gave the Panthers three runs, and the lead, 5 to 4. Julianna Martin’s throwing error from third base led to two runs, and Mackenzie Biggers hit an RBI double to right field.

Kaitlyn Curvin, BKW’s pitcher, who also tied the game, 5 to 5, with a single in the bottom of the sixth inning, said that the Bulldogs were shocked to ever have a lead. It was BKW’s first advantage of the season after being roughed up by Duanesburg (15-0), Galway (19-2), and St. Johnsville.

“We were pretty confident, but I think we might have let it go when we were ahead,” Curvin said after losing to Mayfield in eight innings, 7 to 5. “We’re mad about this game, but we can come back tomorrow, a little mad, and try to get a win.”

After Curvin had tied the game with her hit in the sixth inning, BKW still had the bases loaded with one out. However, Mayfield pitcher Karleign VanNostrand was able to get Michaela Horlacher and Laura Simpson to hit weak grounders; the final two outs were made at home plate.

With no seniors and plenty of ninth-graders on the Bulldogs’ roster, Head Coach Gary Morin said that, easily, this is the youngest team he’s ever coached.

“We had to come to that realization at the beginning of the season,” Morin said last Thursday. “We knew there would be growing pains — as heartbreaking as that is — but our heads are still held high. We played well today, and battled back.”

Caitlyn Philby got her first-ever hit for BKW in the fourth inning, and it scored Sarah Germain from third base. Philby got another hit in the sixth inning, and Kaira Wesley, playing her first-ever season on a softball team, also got a hit against Mayfield.

“We played well, and a lot better than the previous games,” Curvin said. “Offensively, we creamed the ball. Everyone did really well.”

Mayfield got a runner to third base in the top of the seventh inning, and BKW loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but no runs crossed the plate. Seven innings wasn’t enough.

In the top of the eighth inning, Julie Hampton earned a walk for Mayfield, and then got to second base on a passed ball. Biggers made it to first base safely after hitting a grounder past Curvin, and Hampton was now at third base.

Next, Curvin threw a pitch way too high, and Hampton scored the go-ahead run as Horlacher’s toss back to Curvin, covering home plate, rolled away. Then, Mayfield went ahead, 7 to 5, after Biggers broke for home plate, making sure that Horlacher would be making a throw to first base to get Sydney Benton out.

The Panthers may have done more damage in the inning, but a nice diving stop by Curvin on Lyndsey Barber’s hit ended the threat. Curvin had already made a few impressive defensive plays earlier in the contest.

“Everyone was backing me up in the field, too,” said Curvin of her teammates. “Our defense was solid.”

Curvin and Horlacher both grounded out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Simpson, who drove in two runs with a double in the first inning for BKW, ripped a line drive to centerfield, but it was caught by Biggers to end the game.

Knowing that her team played well, Curvin said, “I have no doubt that we can win some games.”

Last Friday, BKW went on the road to Sharon Springs, and won, 25 to 10.

“Some of these young girls are really coming up; they’re good players,” Morin said last Thursday. “We’ve been cruising right along, playing good ball.”

Losing in extra innings is painful, especially when there were chances to win before overtime play, but there’s no doubt that long, competitive games can build character.

“For us to battle like that…it’s a loss, but we didn’t give in, we kept fighting,” Morin said. “If we get into another situation like that, we’ll be able to handle it.”