PLYMOUTH — It was a back and forth struggle for seven innings but when it was over, Culver came away with their first win of the softball season with a 14-9 win over Plymouth.
It was a very rough start for both teams but the Lady Pilgrims in particular who gave up five runs to start the game as Culver batted around picking up four hits off Plymouth starter Kayleigh Einspahr. The Plymouth started didn’t receive a lot of first inning help from a defense that committed two crucial errors and struggled with execution at times.
“There were some big bugaboos, especially in that first inning,” said Plymouth coach John Johnson. “I don’t know how it could have been any worse. We get down 5-0 just like that.”
“Kayleigh pitched her heart out and gave us everything that she had tonight and we couldn’t help her out,” he said. “She knows a lot of the Culver girls and she was fired up, she wanted to show them that she could play and I think she did that.”
Einspahr went the distance holding the Culver offense in check for the middle innings and starting the seventh within a run at 9-8.
A couple of key errors with two outs led to a five-run inning — none of them earned — and putting Plymouth in a big hole in the last frame.
“We battled back and got back into a position where we could do something and then there were some mistakes,” said Johnson. “We have a lot of young kids and we are asking them to do some things — not just freshman but sophomores because they didn’t play last year. We are asking them to make plays and we didn’t make them tonight. The good thing is we play tomorrow.”
Culver starter A.J. Hinds had a shaky start of her own as Plymouth clawed across two of their own but the sophomore left-hander recovered nicely and settled in until Plymouth pushed four across in the fourth — once again after a two-out error — to make it a one-run game.
“I was very impressed with our hitting,” said Culver coach Bill Moise. “A lot came together for us tonight. It’s a big rivalry game it’s very important to us that we got this win.”
“Our pitcher (A.J. Hinds) stepped up big for us tonight,” he said. “Pitching is everything in softball. She made all the pitches she needed to make in tough situations and that’s all that matters.”
The Lady Cavs banged out 14 hits in the game and stranded just six runners. Shortstop Kaitlyn Kanschat had a big three-run triple in the first. Luci Overmyer doubled as part of a two-hit night and Maegan Pearl, Jane Wright, and Hinds all added two hits to the attack.
Julia Kinney had a pair of hits for Plymouth. Kasi Harner tripled. Ann Anders had a double as part of a two-hit night and Mia Wojcik had a single and a double with two runs scored and a stolen base.
“We’ve had two really good games and we were ahead to the last inning against Kouts,” said Moise. “This team can play. Hopefully, we can come back and play really well on into the season.”
“I thought we put some pressure on them offensively,” said Johnson. “We had a couple of moments on the bases but I’m not that upset because we were trying to make something happen. Just a couple of plays go the other way we would be a little happier right now.”
Both teams will be in action tonight. Plymouth starts their year 0-2 and will hit the road to play Triton. Culver moves to 1-2 and will take on Caston at home.
•CULVER 14, PLYMOUTH 9
Culver 5 2 0 2 0 0 5 14-14-5
Plymouth 2 0 1 4 0 0 1 9-11-7
WP — Hinds. LP — Einspahr. 3B — Kanschat (C), Harner (P). 2B — Overmyer (C), Milam (C), Anders (P), Wojcik (P).