The Hannibal softball team was in control, but then suddenly wasn't, during a 13-6 loss to Bowling Green on Monday night at Veterans Sports Complex.

Chalk it up to a third-inning curse.

The Hannibal softball team was in control, but then suddenly wasn't, during a 13-6 loss to Bowling Green on Monday night at Veterans Sports Complex.

Hannibal led 6-1 after two innings of its home opener before the visiting Lady Bobcats erupted for seven runs in the third to take the lead as part of a spree of 12 unanswered tallies.

“We got through two innings unscathed, but then it got tough,” Hannibal coach Andrew Pollard said. “That's a tough one to swallow. We weren't just winning, we were in total control of the game, and then we lost it.”

The challenging third inning continued a trend for the Lady Pirates, albeit in a small sample size to open the season.

Hannibal (1-3) has allowed 25 runs in the third inning alone through four games, compared to just 16 runs in all other innings combined.

“I don't know what it is, but hopefully we break that,” Pollard said. 

Taylor Wilson drove in the first run for Hannibal in the second with an RBI single to knot the score at 1. The Lady Pirates followed with five straight singles in the inning as part of a 6-run outburst. 

Hailey Whittaker plated two runs with a single to left to cap the rally.

But Bowling Green responded immediately.

The Lady Bobcats used five hits, two walks and a hit by pitch to take an 8-6 lead midway through the third. Four of the visitors' seven runs in the frame were scored with two outs.

Once Bowling Green took the lead, senior all-state pitcher Sarah Harness entered in relief. Harness was lights-out, pitching five scoreless innings while striking out 10 Lady Pirates to earn the win. 

“For Sarah to come in and stop the bleed, it was great to have her pick up those innings,” Bowling Green coach Dean Streed said. “When she's on, she's one of the top in the state, and that holds true to any team we play.”

The Lady Bobcats tacked on two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to pad their advantage. 

Hannibal managed just one baserunner over the final three innings before the game ended with a double play.

Wilson took the loss in the circle for Hannibal. The senior started and pitched 3 1/3 innings before handing the ball to freshman Kylie McAfee, who allowed three runs (one earned) over 3 2/3 frames.

Bowling Green out-hit Hannibal 12-8.

The Lady Pirates are next scheduled to play at the Monroe City Tournament this weekend.

“This was not the start to the season that we were looking for, especially against good but beatable teams,” Pollard said. “We'll have some good competition at the Monroe City Tournament this weekend, so hopefully we have a chip on our shoulder and this was a wakeup call.”