Katelyn Buscher was Benton’s workhorse Monday night. The sophomore right-hander tossed 207 pitches in a doubleheader against Williamsburg while allowing just three earned runs.
The Bobcats’ offense, however, sputtered to two consecutive shutouts as they dropped both games against the Raiders, 4-0 and 3-0 respectively.
“Buscher pitched well, we just didn’t make some plays behind her,” Benton head coach Eric Stenberg said. “We didn’t execute. Couldn’t get a bunt down, couldn’t get a base hit when we needed to. We made a couple of pitchers look pretty good that we really should’ve hit better.
We just weren’t sharp.”
The Bobcats managed just four baserunners throughout the first game, two from walks and two from singles. The Raiders, however, seemed to operate their offense with ease. Every Williamsburg batter recorded either a hit, a walk or an RBI.
Benton tried to get a rally going in the bottom of the seventh. Junior Megan Gorkow and sophomore Brielle Hogan each hit the ball hard toward left and right fields, respectively, but each was snagged by Raiders outfielders. Shortstop Taylor Robinson roped a line drive to center field to spark a bit of hope, but a sharp ground ball from freshman Gabby McKee was hit directly toward the third baseman for the final out of the game.
“We’re leaving a lot of games on the table here that should be wins,” Stenberg said. “We’re just underachieving right now.
Game two culminated in a slightly better outing for the Bobcats’ offense. Leadoff hitter Jaden Thys reached base in all four of her plate appearances with three singles and a walk but never advanced past second base. The rest of the Benton batters reached base just twice.
Coach Stenberg said his squad needs to be more aggressive with a two-strike count to be more competitive moving forward.
“We have an approach,” he said. “We have a way we’re supposed to swing the bat. We’re not doing that.
“The message [after the game] was effort is everything. I’m not going to put up with any more lack of effort. If kids don’t want to play hard, don’t want to execute the right way, we’ll just put other kids in and give them a shot.”
Despite the losses and postgame mood surrounding the team, Stenberg said he expects his team’s results will improve in the near future.
“We have great leadership, our seniors are good leaders,” he said. “They’re a pretty tight group, and they all work hard. It’s just sometimes we get a little complacent out there.”