Madison's Emma Cammack rounds third and high-fives coach Tony Ralston after her solo home run. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison's Emma Cammack rounds third and high-fives coach Tony Ralston after her solo home run. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison softball out-hit Batesville and out-pitched the Bulldogs Friday at Lady Cub Field but that made little difference in Madison’s 9-3 loss to fall to 1-7 on the season.

That’s because the Cubs committed five fielding errors and stranded a dozen runners on base to allow the more efficient Bulldogs to escape Madison with a lopsided win in what otherwise looked like Madison’s game to win.

Madison smacked 12 hits to Batesville’s 10 — including two home runs to one by the Bulldogs — while Madison pitchers Bailee Schmidt and Abby Moore combined to strike out five while walking just two as Batesville’s Paige Oldham struck out just three while walking four.

But Oldham and the Dogs left town with the easy win because Madison failed to deliver the clutch hit time-after-time while the Cubs’ defense bungled enough plays early to stretch Batesville’s fewer hits into a 9-0 lead.

Batesville built that 9-0 lead in just 3 1/2 innings before being shut down by the Cubs the rest of the way. Madison scored its runs late with a leadoff solo home run by Emma Cammack in the bottom of the fifth to go with a two-out single by Paige Young and an RBI double by Morgan Cahall before Bailey Dyer capped the Cubs scoring with another solo homer in the sixth.

“It was frustrating because I thought from the fourth inning on we played pretty well. I thought Schmidt came in to start the game and pitched well. We just weren’t ready to field the ball the first part of the game and wasn’t mentally into it and it cost us,” Madison coach Tony Ralston said. “It cost us at the plate and it cost us in the field. The girls understand that they’ve got to be prepared every inning, every game for the whole game — not half the game.

“Our offense is starting to come around. It’s just we got to get the hits when there’s runners on,” Ralston added. “We had two nice home runs today but they were solos. I hate to sound like this but that was disappointing. I need those with bases loaded. And the girls know that. They actually said it to me.”

As dramatic as the solo home runs where, they were too little, too late. Cammack’s shot to lead off the fifth came just one batter after Madison ended the fourth with the bases loaded. Dyer’s one-out shot in the sixth saw the Cubs strand two more runners in the inning. Madison left multiple runners on board in four of their seven at-bats — the bases loaded three times — and that was the big difference in the game.

All six of Batesville’s stranded runners — as well as its nine runs — came over the first four innings before Moore retired the Bulldogs in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Ralston said that was more a byproduct of Madison’s defense than the effort put forth by his two pitchers.

“We only gave up one run after the fourth inning,” Ralston said. “But Abby Moore came in and we didn’t do anything different but field the ball.”

It was a blustery day with wind blowing the ball around but Rowlett said that was no excuse.

“It wasn’t fly balls. It was ground balls we were messing up,” Ralston said. “I always call them ‘elementary plays.’ We didn’t make elementary plays the first three innings and that’s just a fact and we’ve got to start doing that.

“I do give the girls credit. We did compete to the end, we hung in there and we gave ourselves a shot,” he said. “We just didn’t get the key and timely hit. Moving forward we’ve got to do that. If we want to win ballgames we have to have the timely hit and we have to be solid in the field.

“I think our pitching is doing pretty well it’s just we got to pick up the other two things an that’s defense and offense,” he said.

Batesville’s four-run second inning started with an error before four singles and another error and Bulldogs’ final run in the fourth came on an RBI single by Oldham after a Madison error to start the inning.

The Bulldogs’ three-run third was the visitors’ most pure offensive rally when one of Madison’s two walks — a 3-2 pitch to Abigail Westerfeld — came back to haunt the Cubs after a wild pitch and an RBI single by Sydnee Schaefer scored one run and Morgan Biggs belted a fly ball well over the batter’s eye in center field for a two-run homer.

Ralston noted the Cubs have two games today to start turning things around when Oldenburg Academy and South Ripley visit Lady Cub Field.

“Our record don’t show it but I feel like we’re much better team than what we are,” Ralston said. “That’s what’s frustrating. We’ve been in some ballgames. Today’s score doesn’t reflect that but, man, we were in this ballgame. We were knocking on the door with the bases loaded in three innings and two on in another but we left 12 runners on base.”

Southwestern stops Clarksville on 3-hitter

Leading 7-1, Southwestern softball pushed across four runs in the sixth inning to close out Clarksville early in an 11-1 win in Hanover — the 100th career. coaching win for Rebels head coach Duane Ralston.

The Generals managed just three hits in the game — all singles — and scored their only run in their final at-bat when a walk and an error heldped pushed across an unearned run to break up a shutout by Rebels pitcher Lakyn Wilson.

Wilson struck out 10 and walked three while twirling the three-hitter to get the win.

Meanwhile, Southwestern produced back-to-back four-run innings in the fifth and sixth after scoring a run in the second and two in the third.

The Rebels scored 11 runs on 10 hits — four for extra bases — and two walks with eight RBIs.

Abby Fulton, Abby Ralston, and Wilson all had multiple hits for Southwestern including a double each by Ralston and Wilson and a triple by Fulton. Morgan Mahoney also had a double and Olivia Bruce and Trinity McLain drove in two runs each.

Southwestern (4-4) hosts South Ripley on Monday.