Golden Eagles outhit Custer County but lose in runs

By: 
Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

The Fergus softball team got its 2017 spring season underway in a seven-inning battle against Custer County in Miles City last Friday. Despite outhitting the Cowgirls, 10 to 8, the Golden Eagles came up short on runs to fall, 4-6.
“In the first game out one never knows what to expect,” said Fergus Coach Mike Mangold. “A lot of things were up in the air and even more so when Dani (Gapay) got hurt during warm-ups. We were shuffling things around a minute before game time trying to replace our all-state bat in the lineup.”
Fergus drew first blood in the contest in the top of the first inning. After Gracia Butcher grounded out to the Custer County pitcher, Mikayla Comes walked. Elizabeth Craven followed with a single to centerfield, moving Comes to second. Comes went to third and Craven to second on a passed ball by the Cowgirl catcher, but Kinsey Irvin struck out. With two outs Macy Mangold, subbing for Gapay, doubled to centerfield to drive in Comes and Craven. The Golden Eagle first ended when Val Kolstad struck out.
Fergus pitcher Carley Carpenter allowed only one hit in the bottom of the first and after one complete inning, the Golden Eagles led, 2-0.
Fergus did not score again in the contest until the top of the sixth inning. Meanwhile Custer County scored six runs over the next four innings to take a 6-2 lead heading into the sixth.
“In the first four innings, we were pressing a little too hard,” said Coach Mangold. “We would get girls in scoring and leave them stranded with some untimely strikeouts. When we started to relax, we hit the ball how we wanted to, but just hit it right at them.
“We also shut down a rally ourselves in the fifth inning when we got runners on, but I was a little too aggressive in a couple of situations when we tried to stretch to an extra base. Those were my fault. I knew our bats were coming around, and I should have relied on them.”
In the top of the sixth inning, Macy Mangold walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch with Kolstad at the plate. Kolstad lined out to left field for the first out, but Hanna Hayes followed with a line drive single to the Cowgirl pitcher. Mangold advanced to third on the single. Ade Lensing walked to load the bases. Gapay came in the game to pinch hit for Potter. A Gapay sacrifice fly to center field allowed Mangold to tag up and score from third. Hayes then scored on a bunt single by Butcher. The top half of the sixth inning ended when Comes flew out to the Custer County centerfielder.
Fergus missed another golden opportunity to score in the top of the seventh when Macy Mangold singled and Kolstad walked with two outs. Hayes lined out to second base to end the potential rally and to end the game.
“I was happy with the game in the end,” said Coach Mangold. “I feel our bats are better off now than they were at this time last year, but defensively we just haven’t gotten the repetition we need yet.”
Fergus committed three fielding errors, which allowed Custer County to score four of their six runs. Mangold was also pleased with Carpenter’s outing in the circle. Carpenter struck out six Cowgirls and did not walk any. She also allowed only one earned run.
“We need to work on using all of the plate a little more,” said Mangold. “It’s not often one wants walks, but she did not walk any. She just needs to keep them on their toes a little more by expanding the zone.
“Gracia had a great game using her speed and slapping to get on base,” added Mangold. “She has come a long way. It is hard to believe in being a slapper sometimes, but she is showing a lot of confidence in it right now.”
Golden Eagles face Glasgow on Friday, Havre on Saturday
Fergus’s second game of the season is scheduled for Glasgow on Friday with a non-conference game against the Lady Scotties. Saturday, the Golden Eagles have a home conference contest against Havre. The junior varsity game is scheduled for 2 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 4 p.m.

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