Lady Tigers softball team struggles, stays optimistic as season unfolds

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Lady Tigers saw signs of optimism during a narrow loss to Wood River but continued to struggle as this year's softball season continued this month.

Mountain Home 5, Jerome 16

With the score tied at two after the first inning, Jerome pounded in six runs in the second and dominated the plate during the next three in a lopsided 16-5 win over the Lady Tigers on March 15 at Eastside Park in Mountain Home.

Jesslyn Kreibs and Breanna Tindall led Mountain Home on hits with two each. Kreibs also scored two RBIs along with Jaden Lancaster.

Defensively, Ryan Floyd earned four strikeouts in three innings against Jerome with Lancaster earning the team's fifth strikeout that evening.

The game was not the way Lady Tigers coach Ron Nicolosi wanted to start the team's first home game of the regular season.

"We gave Jerome two in the first, but I'm proud of the way we battled back in the bottom of the first to tie it up," Nicolosi said.

It was mistakes at the bases that cost Mountain Home the game.

"We gave up 16 hits in the game and allowed eight walks with two-hit batters," Nicolosi said. "I think the cold (weather) had a lot to do with that. Our pitchers are better than what they displayed today."

Offensively, the team mustered just six hits against a very 'hitable' pitcher although the Lady Tigers did put the ball in play, the coach added.

"I was happy that we only had three strikeouts in the game," Nicolosi said. "Eventually, we'll find the open spots and get our share of hits."

Mountain Home 8, Wood River 10

After going without a run after three innings in the second game of the evening, Mountain Home pounded out three at the bottom of the fourth and four more in the sixth to close the game to one run against Wood River.

However, the Lady Wolverines racked up two more in the seven on their way to a 10-8 win against the Lady Tigers on March 16.

The Lady Wolverines picked up their first run at the top of the second and added four more in the second and third before Mountain Home entered the scoreboard. Despite leading Wood River on hits, 15-7, the Lady Tigers were unable to turn these hits into runs.

"This is a game we should have won," Nicolosi. "Our inexperience on the base paths absolutely killed us. It cost us, in my opinion, five or more runs."

When a team gets 15 hits in a game, it should give them a win, the coach added.

"Our pitchers pitched well enough to win this game, however, our mistakes are what cost us," Nicolosi said. "Our errors just seemed to come at bad times. Not that errors are good anytime, but when you make them with runners in scoring position, it puts you constantly in the hole."

Mountain Home 1, Kimberly 16

The Lady Tigers wrapped up a double header against Kimberly and found the competition extremely fierce.

Mountain Home managed to score just one run against the Lady Bulldogs, who dominated the field during a decisive 16-1 win.

The results from the first game were not available.

The Lady Tigers coach admitted that his team wasn't ready to play softball during either game that day.

"We struggled in every facet of the game, from running, to defense and offense," Nicolosi said. "We did have a bright spot... and that was Paris Mederios. We asked her to pitch in the second game, and she came up huge.

"Our defense just let her down," the coach added. "This was the first time she had ever pitched in a varsity game, and she did a great job."

Expressing his pride in players like Mederios, the coach added that the team really needed to pick up its pace and improve on its play before it starts its conference games.

Mountain Home 5, Jerome 16

The Lady Knights of Bishop Kelly High School erupted onto the scoreboard with seven runs at the bottom of the second and added three more in each of the two remaining innings as they shut down the Lady Tigers after five on March 22.

Mountain Home jumped onto the board with three at the top of the third but were unable to convert its remaining hits into runs.

Mederios led the Lady Tigers on offense with two hits while Floyd scored two of the team's RBIs. On defense, Floyd earned 19 first-pitch strikes during four innings at the mound.

Despite the loss, Nicolosi saw some positives from the game.

"Ryan pitched a very good game and did what she was suppose to do, which is give our defense an opportunity to make plays," the coach said. "Unfortunately, we let her down."

However, the Lady Tigers were very accurate on bunting and executed the play every time the coach called it. In addition, Mountain Home ran the bases better than the team has done so far this season.

Nicolosi added that if Floyd and Tindall continue to turn out solid performances, the rest of the team will follow.

"We will keep hammering our defensive fundamentals," Nicolosi said. "There is no doubt in my mind that when we start playing defense, we will become a very competitive team."

The Lady Tigers have two weeks to beef up its defensive posture before the team returns to action following spring break.

"We will have some workouts during spring break, but we also have vacations to contend with," the coach said. "I'm hoping the girls will take some time and do some mental exercises about the game during the break. It would be a shame to lose what we've gained so far."

The Lady Tigers will face Bishop Kelly for a rematch on home soil at 5 p.m. April 5 at Eastside Park. The Mountain Home softball team then takes on Middleton during an away game at 5 p.m. April 7.

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