FREMONT – The results were the same for the Fremont Ross baseball and softball teams Monday: shutout losses.
The difference, however, came in what those losses meant for the Little and Lady Giants, respectively. For the Lady Giants, their 2-0 loss to Notre Dame Academy saw Ross put together a tremendous defensive effort and remain close throughout the day against one of the TRAC perennial favorites.
While positives were abundant for the Lady Giants, the Little Giants are trying to remain positive, following a 10-0, five-inning loss to another TRAC power, St. John’s.
When a loss is almost as good as a victory
For a softball program measuring success by progress and sustained improvement, Monday’s loss to the Eagles was about as close to a victory as a team can come in a two-run loss.
After opening the game with back-to-back base hits, Notre Dame pushed the runners across home on a Ross error three batters later, the only runs of the game.
From then on, Ross battled NDA to a draw, playing outstanding defense and holding up to the pressure the Eagles put with runners on base.
“I am really happy with our performance, the girls played really well today,” Ross coach Megan Turner said. “I’m seeing a great team effort. (Pitcher) Audrianna (Melchor) is pitching really well but she’s also able to rely on her defense to help her. She doesn’t have to strike everybody out, she’s able to have the other eight fielders behind her the entire time.”
Ross committed just one error over the remaining six innings, including a handful of tremendous individual efforts in the field, including a line-drive stab by Kaylee Dodson and strong play from Malayah Horn at shortstop and Maci Figley at first base.
It was a far-cry from Saturday afternoon when the Lady Giants committed six errors in a 15-8 loss to Woodmore.
“We came out with good energy today,” Turner said. “One of our team goals today was to come out, compete for all seven innings but also have fun. No matter what the outcome was going to be today, we were going to have fun and enjoy this beautiful day and I think the girls really embraced that today and it showed on the field.”
While Turner has no issues with her team in the field, the Lady Giants still have work to do at the plate. Ross put four runners on base, three of which got on base thanks to Eagle fielding errors. Ross’ only hit came from Kayla Rich as the Lady Giants struck out 18 times Monday.
“We need to make some more adjustments at the plate,” Turner said. “The pitcher had a great riseball and she was executing very well on the outside and our girls were not adjusting to that. We need to make sure our girls are adjusting pitch by pitch but also each at-bat they have to adjust more at the plate.
“I think we’re on the right track,” Turner added. “I feel good and confident with the kids and we’re moving forward and I’m excited to see how it plays out.”
Titans smash the ball vs. Little Giants
Sometimes there just isn’t a lot a team can do. When a team is smashing the ball and sending it to all corners of the field, what can you do?
The Little Giants found themselves facing such a situation against St. John’s. The Titans crushed the ball early and often in their 10-0 victory over Ross. A lead-off home run was the first of St. John’s first six batters of the game to reach base and the Titans jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
“We only had two errors on the day, I can live with two,” Ross coach Jared King said. “Defensively, we played OK. They hit lights out. They absolutely hit the lights out. That’s a great hitting team and a great defensive team and you just have to tip your cap to them. …They were finding the gaps and finding the gaps hard.”
The Titans added a run in each of the second and third innings before putting another four runs across in the top of the fifth.
Ross meanwhile scattered five hits across five innings, including back-to-back hits to start the bottom of the fifth, threatening to extend the game by trimming St. John’s 10-run lead, only to leave their runners stranded.
King said the Little Giants are improving at the plate, but work remains to be done.
“I think we’re hitting the ball harder and more often and we’re getting to the point where I’m more pleased offensively,” King said. “There’s still a lot of times we’re taking too many pitches early in the count, looking at too many good pitches late in the count for called third (strikes). …Offensively, I think we’re getting there but we need to take another step or two to get where we want to be.”
After winning their season-opener, Ross has dropped its last six games and King said his team needs to remain positive to break out of its slump.
“That’s tough on me, as an adult, let-alone a high school-aged kid,” King said. “You have to do everything you can to stay positive. This group of kids is pretty good at that. They come in the next day smiling and ready to go and ready to play. Even today getting down 4-0 at the start and I thought they battled.”
The Ross softball team is home Tuesday against Bowling Green and both baseball and softball travel to Clay on Wednesday.