According to Crystal Lake South softball coach Scott Busam, it's not time to panic, but it might be time to sound a wake-up alarm on his Gators.
After a slew of errors committed in an 8-1 loss to McHenry on Monday, the errors were contagious again as the Gators spotted Prairie Ridge 4 runs on 4 errors on the road in a 10-0 Fox Valley Conference loss in 5 innings Tuesday in Crystal Lake.
It's South's second-straight defeat after a 7-0 start and puts the Gators m in an 0-2 conference hole, and Busam didn't spare the details for where his team is at.
"If they continue to make routine plays difficult, we won't win another conference game," said Busam. "The plays they're screwing up, they've done a thousand times in practice, in the gym, outfield, during their summer travel teams. They've done these plays a thousand different times, and it's a mater of want to, have to and desire. Until they get that fire burning, the desire to beat people, it's going to be a struggle."
South (7-2, 0-2) committed 2 errors each in the second and fourth innings as Prairie Ridge (6-1, 2-0) scored 5 runs in each frame. The Wolves batted around in the second and fell one batter short of doing so again in the fourth. And in both innings, the errors occurred during the second at-bat of the inning.
Marissa Richter was 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI while Kate Didier was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and Maddie Drain had a double and an RBI for the Wolves.
"We just wanted to keep the intensity, come out strong in a hard conference game because we know they're a tough team," said Richter, whose double in the fourth made it 9-0. "We just want to be able to win the conference hopefully this year and show that we're a good contender."
South hurler Heather Eck (3-1) was roughed up for 11 hits and 6 earned runs as the Wolves bunched hits together. It didn't help South was facing Kirsten Stevens, who upped her record to 5-1 and gave up just 1 hit and struck out 8. Jennica Terry accounted for the only Gator hit.
"They hit Heather really hard but we gave them tons of extra opportunities," said Busam. "I told the girls (Monday) and I told them again the Fox Valley is tough; it's tough this year. The pitching, tough defense, good hitting teams -- it's as good as its been since I've been coaching and we will not win a conference game if we continue to play defense the way we've played."
South prevented PR from a damaging first inning after the Wolves' first 3 batters reach based on singles. South sniffed out a double steal of second and home with nobody out and tagged Claire Bowman out at the plate. Eck induced a lineout and pop-up to end the threat.
But the Gators couldn't get around the errors in the next inning. An error on a fielder's choice and at third base allowed the first run and 3-straight hits followed by a Bowman double made it 4-0.
The fourth saw two-straight bunts fielded incorrectly as both PR runners reached base safely on bad throws, which loaded the bases and allowed PR to capitalize again.
"I thought we hit the ball pretty solidly today, even the first inning we kind of ran ourselves out of an opportunity," said PR coach Mike Buck. "We made good contact off a good pitcher and those things will happen."