NEW BRITAIN – A slow start doomed Innovation softball in its 21-9 loss against MLC on Tuesday at Osgood Park.
The Ravens allowed 13 runs over the first two innings to put themselves in a hole that they never could climb out of. Playing with only eight fielders because of an injury during warm-ups also set Innovation back before the first pitch was even thrown.
“They could have shut down and said ‘hey, we don’t want to,’ but they hustled,” Ravens coach Michael Jessie said. “When the ball was hit they weren’t walking after it, they were hustling after hit. When you’re down to eight, you’re already down a person anyways. They kept playing.”
MLC added eight runs over the final three innings, including a five-run sixth, as Innovation recorded its sixth loss of the season in the defeat.
“Those first two innings killed us a little, and I think if we adjusted those first two innings, besides that we were right with them,” Jessie said. “We’re just having a struggle getting out of that first and second inning. That’s where we have to figure it out.”
Senior Kaylee Dobransky paced the Ravens with three RBIs, including a two-run double in the fifth inning. Dobransky has been swinging the bat well lately as she finished with eight RBIs in Innovation’s 30-20 win over Weaver last Thursday.
“It is a little difficult because I play travel so coming to this, the pitches are a little slower but it’s all about reps,” Dobransky said. “Just got to have fun and a lot of these girls are having fun and that’s the whole point, positive attitudes and just having a good time.”
Yahailey Montanez picked up the other RBI for the Ravens with a single during the second inning, while Alice Bidoae and Macyn Rosay scattered one hit apiece.
“The beginning of the game was flat,” Dobransky said. “We are struggling with our pitchers. A lot of us have never pitched ever, including myself. I like that we all had a positive attitude and we came on strong at the end.”
Niara Largent started on the mound for Innovation and surrendered seven runs in 2/3 innings of work before Bidoae came on. Bidoae lasted five innings until Dobransky came on in the sixth to grab the final out of the frame.
The Ravens pitchers gave up a combined 11 hits, 12 walks and five strikeouts, and put nine MLC batters on base with a hit-by-pitch.
Ariana Hussain got the win for MLC, giving up nine runs on four hits in 5 and 2/3 innings. Hussain also fanned a game-high seven batters in the contest.
Sanae Graham led all players with seven RBIs while Karina Cutts was next with three for MLC. Makayla Smith secured three hits for the most among the visitors.
Despite the result, the Ravens are doing all they can given their lack of experience and according to Dobransky, the squad has improved greatly since the season began in late April.
“It’s night and day from the first week of practice to now,” Dobransky said. “It’s way better. We don’t have a lot of girls, especially because a lot of them are injured, but everyone’s having a good time and they’re really putting in the work and I like to see that. I’m sure the coaches love to see that as well.”
Innovation (1-6) next plays Wednesday when it will face University/Classical, with first pitch set for 3:45 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.
MLC 21, Innovation 9
At Osgood Park
MLC 760 215 -- 21 11 4
Innovation 320 220 -- 9 4 7
W -- Ariana Hussain (MLC); L -- Niara Largent (I)
2B: Kaylee Dobransky (I), Smith (MLC), Graham 2 (MLC)
Records: Innovation (1-6), MLC (3-5).