HANNIBAL | Hannibal celebrated its senior night for softball on Monday, but could not deliver a win against Bowling Green as the Pirates lost 7-4.
Hannibal found itself in a hole in the first inning when Bowling Green put up four runs. Key hits from the Bobcats included an RBI double from Jade Meier, a two-RBI double from pitcher Tanner Turner and a sacrifice fly from McKenna Orf that scored Turner.
The Bobcats scored another run in the second inning after Grace Deters singled and later scored on a wild pitch. In the third inning, Bowling Green added another run to take a 6-0 lead.
Hannibal head coach Andrew Pollard said Bowling Green was able to get a lot of hard contact off of Pirates starting pitcher Kylie McAfee early on in the game.
“(McAfee) settled in and her and Taylor (Simms) went back to being the tandem they have been for the last four years,” Pollard said. “That's something we got to continue to going back to getting that soft contact and allowing our defense to work.”
In the fifth inning, a clutch two-out double from Hannibal sophomore Alyssa Hart scored Sydney Hart and Adrya Nichelson to get the Pirates on the scoreboard.
The Pirates added two more runs in the sixth inning when Lauren Bramblett was hit by the pitch with the bases loaded to score Emilee Wilson and Nichelson hit an RBI single to drive in another run.
“I've always been proud of these girls (because) no matter what our record is and no matter what their skill set is, our varsity and JV is going to be resilient,” Pollard said. “It could had been easy giving up after those four runs in the first inning. They went into the third inning being down 6-0, four more runs and it's game over.”
Bowling Green tacked on another run in the seventh inning when Deters hit a single to drive in Orf.
Pollard said it Hannibal would have had a chance at a win had they been able to keep Bowling Green from having a big first inning.
“It's tough being down a four-spot in the first inning and having to battle back from that,” Pollard said. “Take away that first inning and it's a (different game).”
After the game, Hannibal recognized its five seniors – Nichelson, Taylor Simms, Maggie Woodside, Bramblett and Sydney Hart.
Pollard had been coaching this group of players since he was a middle school coach and was previously the assistant coach at high school when they started their freshman year.
“They are obviously a very talented group and they've been the core of our team for the last three years,” Pollard said. “Up and down the lineup, it's definitely going to be a blow. Not just statistical wise, but as leaders.”
Hannibal is 3-5 after Monday's loss. The Pirates have a busy week ahead as they play at Monroe City on Tuesday night, play at Clark County on Thursday and host Marshall on Saturday.