Youthful Wildcats continue to suffer softball growing pains
Westport falls to 2-18 with loss to Pembroke
By Steve Rogers
WESTPORT — It’s been a learning season for the Westport High School softball team and Monday was no different. The Wildcats, with a roster of 14, half of the girls whom are freshmen, fell to Pembroke 17-4 in six innings in a non-league game in Westport.
It was the eighth straight loss for the Wildcats, their eighth loss by 13 runs or more this season, and dropped their overall record to 2-18 with two games left.
“We have not had a lot of close games this year,” Westport coach Chris Leger said. “Today we were actually missing two of our starters so there was more youth in the lineup.”
Pembroke, which hosted the Wildcats earlier this season and beat them 12-8, had more at stake than Westport. The win elevated Pembroke’s overall mark to 8-9 with one game remaining and left the Titans one win shy of qualifying for the state tournament.
“This game mattered to us,” Pembroke coach Jennye Frost said. “If we don’t get this one, we’re out. It comes down to Hingham on Wednesday for us.”
While it comes down to one win for the Titans it comes down to basics for the Wildcats. Westport is far from a tournament team. The Wildcats, because of the lack of experience, weren’t expected to qualify for postseason play when the season began. They’re still trying to learn on the fly.
On Monday the inexperience showed. Two Westport fielders tentatively went for a pop up but it fell to the dirt when neither called for the catchable ball. Then the fielder who retrieved the ball held it as a Pembroke runner went from second to home with the ball still in the grasp of the fielder.
Westport also had a runner picked off third base when she strayed too far from the bag after a pitch and the Pembroke catcher caught her napping. Another Westport runner on third took off for home on a hard grounder right to the third baseman. She was an easy out at home.
More proof of Westport’s inexperience came when a right-handed Pembroke batter pulled three consecutive pitches foul of third base. Experienced defenders would have noted the hitter was out in front of the pitches and shifted accordingly. Instead coach Leger had to tell the defenders to move to their right.
“It’s good experience for them,” Leger said. “They get in the game and make some mistakes so that they’ll learn. Next year they’ll be better players.”
Pembroke sent 10 batters to the plate and scored four runs on five hits in the opening inning. That was one more hit than Westport, which entered the contest having lost three straight games by shutout, recorded in the entire game.
“We’re hitting the ball hard we’re just having a problem finding the holes,” said Leger. “We’re working hard on hitting in practice but we’re just not getting it done. We get runners on but we can’t get them in.”
The Wildcats have resorted to manufacturing runs any way possible. Ashley Turner singled, went to second when Marissa Homsi reached on an error and then the two worked a delayed double steal. After Turner safely reached third and drew a throw from the catcher, Homsi belatedly broke for second. The Pembroke third baseman threw the ball into right field trying to get Homsi at second and Turner scored cutting the deficit to 4-1 in the second inning.
Down 10-1 in the fourth inning with Homsi on third and Ali Shaw on first and two out, Shaw meandered off first toward second after a pitch and the Pembroke catcher threw to second. Shaw stopped in the base path and got caught in a rundown as Homsi scored. Shaw was tagged out but she did her job as Homsi spiked the plate.
Meanwhile the Titans whacked the ball around. Every Pembroke player had at least one hit, all but one scored a run and all but one had at least one RBI as the Titans compiled 18 singles and a double.
“We’ve been a pretty good hitting team,” Frost said. “The bats have been pretty hot. If we’re on our game and the bats are hot, and that’s been a lot of times, we’ve been able to produce a lot of runs.”
Emilie Medeiros pitched 5 1/3 innings for Westport, struck out six and allowed 16 runs. But just six of the runs were earned thanks to five Westport errors. It’s been that kind of season for the Wildcats.
“It’s definitely been a struggle,” Leger said. “Hopefully we’ll see the benefits in the next couple years.”
Westport leadoff hitter Rachel Cowen had two base hits, Rachel Gath had one and Turner had a single. Kate Weisman, Khoryn Cote, Turner and Homsi scored a run each.