IDAHO FALLS â€” After a two week hiatus, the Shelley Russet softball squad returned to the diamond on Wednesday afternoon as they opened their conference season with a double-header against Bonneville at Craver Field.
With the long lay off, the Lady Russets showed some rust, especially in the field as Bonneville swept both ends of the double dip 22-0 and 18-1.
"The girls admitted that they felt a little intimidated and a little nervous tonight because we haven't been outside for a while and that isn't an excuse, we just felt soggy and didn't have it brought to the game today," Shelley head coach Chris Fleming said. "When we were talking after the game the girls were really positive though. We came, we saw and we learned that we can play and even though we might not have gotten a win today, it was more that we know that we didn't put forth our best performance."
In game one the Lady Russets were cruising along behind starting pitcher Jessalyn Hobbs, that is until the third inning when the proverbial wheels came off the bus. Bonneville erupted in the home half of the third inning, in large part to 5 Shelley errors, as they plated 19 runs in the nightmarish inning that spelled doom for the Lady Russets.
"Even though Jessa struggled a bit in that first game I thought that both of my pitchers did a good job today," coach Fleming said. "We were down and I thought that Jessa needed to learn something and I think that it was an opportunity in a game situation to work that zone. Sometimes the umpire isn't going to give you that strike above the waist and I think that she did a good job of figuring out how to work side to side in a live situation that she can't get in practice."
In game two, Bonneville picked up where they left off as they scored in each of the four innings of play. Once again, errors played a key cog in the outcome as only 4 of the first 12 runs were earned.
Despite the difficulties in the field, there were a couple of bright spots for the Shelley defense. Third baseman Tallie Schmitt turned in a highlight reel play to end the second inning as she dove to her left to snare a line drive out of the air and then finished the double play with a strong throw to Hobbs at first.
Center fielder Kayla Settle also turned in a nice play in center-field as she made a basket catch, just before the ball struck the turf in the second inning.
Offensively, the Lady Russets put the ball into play all afternoon, collecting at least one hit in each inning but that only led to 1 run, scored in the fourth inning when Shelby Chapple came racing home ahead of a RBI single by Hailey Hathaway.
"I think that we learned that 4A isn't as intimidating as they thought that it would be," coach Fleming said. "I also think that they learned that they can be their own worst enemy or their own force to be reckoned with and I think that today will help them decide to be that force to be reckoned with rather than quit."
Shelley (1-4, 0-2) will look to shake off this outing when they travel to Preston on Saturday for a double header against the Indians beginning at 11 A.M.