INDIANAPOLIS — Scoring early and succumbing to late surges became the fateful trend that ended the Riverfield All-Stars season Wednesday afternoon at Ferguson Field.
For the third game in four during pool play of the Little League Softball Central Region tournament, manager Seth Kelley’s girls led by at least two runs early in the game, only to let it slip away — this time to Freeport, Ill. Riverfield lost 10-2, after holding a 2-0 lead after the first inning, and fell to 1-3 in pool play.
“It’s tough. It’s not how I expected it to go,” Kelley said. “I think they just ran out of gas. When we had two outs and had an error in the infield which led to a four-run inning, I think the wheels kinda fell off, and once that happened, it’s really hard to get it back.”
But in the game’s first inning, Kelley’s players looked like they had put Tuesday’s loss to North Ottowa, Mich., behind them. Riverfield managed to squeak out of the top of the first without giving up any runs despite a few early base runners. In the bottom of the inning, lead-off hitter Rachel Duncan started things off with a triple.
Although she was thrown out at the plate later in the inning, her teammates managed to get four more runners on base. Myracle Settles scored off a double from Emma Kelley, and Brianna Tapscott added another off a single from Alyson Milburn to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Riverfield’s manager said he knew that just two runs wouldn’t be enough to hold off Illinois’ offensive firepower he’d seen from scouting them earlier in the week. Yet, he thought that start might be a good signal for things to come.
“We just came out swinging,” he said. “I told them to swing early in the count, and it doesn’t hurt when your lead-off hitting starts with a triple. That always gets things rolling and gets the girls up and pumped.