NOBLESVILLE — Jason Stewart saw enough Tuesday night to know he didn’t see enough.
After his softball team blasted hapless Speedway 23-4 the night before in the season opener, Greenfield-Central came out flat at the plate against Guerin Catholic, winning by a modest 5-1 margin.
“We were sloppy,” said Stewart after his Cougars improved to 2-0. “We got out of here with a win, but, like I told them, this is probably the most disappointed I’ve been after a win in four or five years.”
Last season, Greenfield-Central defeated the Golden Eagles to the tune of a 10-2 victory.
In the top of the first inning, history appeared on the verge of repeating as the Cougars went up 4-0, taking advantage of two errors and working the counts.
Instead, they let Guerin Catholic starter Sarah Miller off the hook, pushing just one more runner across home plate as the right-hander settled through the next six frames.
“Our mentality at the plate tonight was awful. That was the first thing I said when I talked to them,” Stewart said. “We swung at too many pitches. She’s a pretty good little pitcher. She mixes her speeds great, but we swung at garbage most of the night and helped her.”
Miller struck out eight, walked a pair and scattered five hits after a four-hit first inning. Winless Guerin Catholic (0-5) committed six errors with two in the first, but Greenfield-Central struggled to capitalize.
“We couldn’t string our hits together like we did last night,” Stewart said. “We have to remember that yesterday is the exception and not the norm. We can’t expect to go out and score 20 runs a game. You’re not going to do that against better teams if we don’t execute.”
In the first, everything clicked. Morganne Denny occupied first base on a one-out strikeout error and with two outs the Cougars’ bats rallied with five consecutive hitters reaching base.
A two-out double by Sydney Williams scored Denny and an RBI-single by Maria Kihega put Greenfield-Central up 2-0.
Guerin Catholic’s second strikeout error loaded the bases for Makayla Durick, who helped her own cause, getting the starting nod in the circle.
Durick connected for a liner to right-center field to score two and supply a 4-run cushion — all unearned.
Once the Cougars took the field, Durick kept her momentum going. The right-hander picked up the win after allowing no earned runs through six innings. She struck out eight, walked three and surrendered eight hits.
“I felt pretty good after that first inning,” Durick said. “My drop ball was working well.”
Durick faced a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the third, but escaped unscathed after Guerin scored its lone run on an outfield error with one runner on base.
“The only thing I was really happy about was our pitching,” Stewart said. “Makayla did a great job, hit her spots and kept the ball down. Sydney (Williams) did a good job of coming in (in the seventh) and getting her our of a jam at the end.”
Guerin Catholic put two runners on base to open the bottom of the seventh to chase Durick, but Williams slammed the door by retiring three straight.
“With Darcie (Huber) out we all know we have a job to do. We’ve all been working harder to get to that next level,” said Durick, referring to the team’s ace still sidelined after arm surgery.
Durick finished the night 2-for-3 at the plate. Kihega and Denny were both 2-for-4, but two base-running miscues in the third cost Greenfield-Central the potential of another big inning.
Their final run came in the sixth as the Cougars bounced back by being more aggressive with some heads-up base running.
Madeline Gibson, courtesy running for Durick, advanced from first on a wild pitch and scored on Guerin Catholic’s fourth strikeout error.
“We came out expecting it to be a lot like yesterday, and then when we didn’t hit them as well, I think it got to us,” Durick said. “We’ll just come out the next game and remember not every game is going to be like the Speedway game. We need to come out and be ready and not be too cocky about things.”
Greenfield-Central 5, Guerin Catholic 1
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
WP: Makayla Durick (1-0). LP: Sarah Miller.
2B: (G-C) — Morganne Denny, Sydney Williams. RBI: (G-C) — S. Williams, Maria Kihega, M. Durick (2).
G-C: Durick 2-for-3, M. Denny 2-for-4, M. Kihega 2-for-4.