By Christopher Tenpenny
After a slow start, the Butler softball team came up short in their home opener Monday as they lost to Green Ridge 9-5.
It was the first home game in Butler since May 2019 and the first home game for a majority of the roster, including new head coach Tim Townsend. Townsend said he and the girls are excited to be playing softball again.
This year has already been a learning experience for the Bears as Townsend has primarily been a baseball coach and is now trying to adjust to softball.
“It’s been quite a learning experience because it is my first time coaching girls, too,” Townsend said. “Girls are a whole new breed. It’s exciting. The girls do a great job and they listen.
“There’s little things we have to fix right now, but the ultimate goal is to be playing our best softball when district comes around.”
Against Green Ridge, the Bears found themselves in an early 3-0 hole after the first inning. Starting pitcher Gracee Lesmeister would settle in an allow just three runs during the next five innings.
She would get some help from her defense as the outfield combined for three assists and Cloey Fritts doubled a Green Ridge runner up at second with a nice play at shortstop.
This allowed the Bears offense to battle back and make the score 6-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Some heads up baserunning by the Bears allowed them to add another run in the sixth, making the score 6-5 heading into the final inning.
Green Ridge would put together some strong at-bats in the top of the seventh and would extend their lead to 9-5. The Lady Bears were able to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh but were unable to push across any runs.
“We kind of dug ourselves a hole early,” Townsend said. “We did a great job battling back, but then in the seventh inning they added a couple more runs. We gave up some hits and couldn’t come all the way back. I’d like to us see us start faster in the future.”
The Lady Bears are now 0-5 on the season after going 0-4 in the Lamar Tournament March 20. While they may have lost again, Townsend was proud of the effort and can already see improvement.
“Those first four games were long games and a long day,” Townsend said. “We played so much better today. Our pitching was better, our fielding was better and hitting was just OK. There are still things to work on and it’s slowly getting better.”
Townsend wants his team to focus on the little things and said the little things can turn into big things if ignored.
The Bears will try to get into the win column tonight as they play Lamar at 4:30 p.m. in Butler.