Pine-Richland softball working through struggles at plate

Friday, April 26, 2019 | 6:50 PM

If there has been an overarching trait for the Pine-Richland softball team’s season, it has been suffering tough losses.

The Rams are 2-8 — overall and in section — with five of the eight losses coming by four runs or fewer. In many of those losses, coach Gary Shepard said his team’s struggles at the plate have made the difference while performances in the pitching and defense departments have been strong.

“I always preach pitching and defense. We’ve really improved on both of those fronts this year, and the statistics show it,” he said. “Where I thought we would really shine is hitting, but we’re behind our pace from last year and it’s been tough.

“With the exception of one game, we’ve been in every game. The run differential overall amounts to just two runs per game for us. We just haven’t been able to string together hits or get that big hit with runners in scoring position. We leave seven runners on base per game, so that’s one per inning. It’s tough.”

Despite the deflating losses, Shepard said his players are remaining positive. Considering the team’s sharp defensive play and steadfast pitching, a slight improvement in offense could spark more wins.

The team’s play in the outfield has given plenty of reasons optimism. Kait Horrell, Alyssa Miller and Morgan Hall have parlayed their collective varsity experience into a reliable contingency of outfielders. Outside of a couple of errant throws, Shepard said, the trio has played solid defense.

Bailey Devinney has been another defensive standout for the Rams, locking down third base. Devinney’s twin sister, Cameron, perhaps has been Pine-Richland’s most consistent performer. The senior has been a fixture on the mound over the past few seasons, but Shepard said she has taken it to another level this year.

“She lowered her ERA by a full run from last year,” he said. “She took it down from 5.90 last season to 3.80 this year, and she’s just been solid and steady. She really deserves the credit.

“Her backup is a freshman, Gabbie Aughton, and she’s done well in spot starts, too. We just need to score more runs for them. It’s just a matter of consistency and just trying to get better day-by-day.”


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