It was one of those games, in which softballs failed to find holes and drop in for hits for Chatham, along with lacking that crucial timely knock, while Morristown had experienced the total opposite.
The Cougars’ missed opportunities and lack of good fortune led to a 5-2 defeat to the Colonials Monday afternoon at Chatham Middle School.
“We had a couple of runners in scoring position, which was good. We just didn’t get that clutch hit to get them in,” head coach Edward Ryan said.
Chatham struck first when senior catcher Sophie Koehler went yard for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
After permitting a run, senior pitcher Ashley McNelis fanned a Morristown batter with the bases loaded to squelch any further damage.
But the Colonials took a 4-1 advantage in the top of the fifth, when the Cougars failed to keep a Morristown player from scoring from third after picking up the out at second.
Morristown (10-7) pushed the lead to 5-1 in the top of the sixth. But Chatham (7-6) sliced the deficit to 5-2 and threatened with runners at second and third.
However, Colonial junior pitcher Callie Volker whiffed junior third baseman Abby Bailey to end the threat.
Koehler went 2-4 with a home run, RBI and two runs scored while sophomore Alessa Cooney stroked two hits.
Morristown freshman Emily Rolph enjoyed a fantastic afternoon, going 4-4 with two doubles, two RBI and two stolen bases.
McNelis and Volker shared game-highs in strikeouts with 10 apiece.
Although the Cougars lost, Ryan took solace in the turn-around season Chatham is having thus far after posting a dismal 1-18 record last year. He attributed the Cougars’ success to a season more of experience, which has helped them learn from their mistakes, while pitching and playing much better defense.
“Last year was kind of, ‘let’s get these girls into the varsity atmosphere, let’s get them some games and reps,”‘ he explained. “It didn’t really help us too much playing in that top division. But it’s pretty much the same group (as last season).
“They have done a good job; got to lead with your pitching, and the defense has been a lot better than last year. Last year, every time we made an error, it led to runs. We’re making errors here and there, but we’re getting out of innings now.”
Chatham hosts Mendham Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
— Jerry Del Priore