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With one of the youngest teams in the 8th Region, Williamstown softball coach Katie McLafferty knew coming into the season that consistency would likely be an issue.
And she was right as her young Lady Demons have shown much improvement in the first half of the season with a lack of consistency being the difference between more wins and less losses.
The Lady Demons, who had been on a tear in recent games and putting up numbers that are nearly unheard of for the program, reverted back to early-season form in a 7-2 loss to Paris on Monday. The Lady Demons were in the game, trailing only 3-2, when the wheels fell off and errors and inconsistent play allowed Paris to run away with it late.
“Consistency does seem to be an issue with us,” said McLafferty. “In our last three games, we had two games where we hit very, very well and moved people around the bases, adjusted to the pitching and got a lot of walks. Then you have a game like tonight where it should have been a better game for us but we just didn’t perform.
“Some of it probably does come from our youth,” said the first-year head coach. “But mostly it’s from our confidence as a team. The girls have to step up and be hitters like we’ve seen they are capable of. They’ve got to believe in themselves.”
Williamstown played tough the entire game, allowing one run in three different innings to trail 3-0 early. But the Lady Demons came back with a pair of runs of their own to pull within one at 3-2.
But Paris was not done and added four runs late to seal the victory, although Williamstown did hit the ball better late. But a Lady Demons’ comeback attempt was thwarted by great defense in the final inning by the visiting Lady Greyhounds.
“We could have played better, but we did do some very positive things,” said McLafferty. “We talked more, which is something we’ve been working on. Our hitting was down from where it had been and that is something we’ll have to work on if we are going to win games.
“But the girls played with a lot of heart tonight,” said the Williamstown coach. “We had some great hits in the last inning. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about the great fielding they had in that inning. But our younger players really stepped up tonight and hustled more and was more aggressive than we’ve seen from them.”
One of the hitting stars for the Lady Demons was sixth grader Delaney Kemper, who went 3-for-4, hitting the ball into the outfield in all four at bats. She also played flawless defense at first base.
“Delaney bats in the five spot for us and we always rely on her for hits,” said McLafferty. “And she has really been performing well for us. She’s been very consistent for us as far as hitting goes. We can always rely on her.”
In another recent game, Williamstown lost to cross-town rival Grant County 4-3, in a game McLafferty feels her team played well enough to win. Timely hitting and a few breaks were the only things standing between the Lady Demons and a win over the Lady Braves.
“We really wanted to win this game,” said McLafferty. “We put a lot of heart into the game. And I really feel if a couple calls went differently we would have had the advantage and won.
“When we hit the ball it didn’t go as far as we needed it to go, or we hit it right at them,” said McLafferty. “We didn’t take advantage of their errors like we should have. And we had some young base running errors that we normally do not make.”
Williamstown started the game on fire, getting a base hit in its first three at bats to score a run and go on top 1-0. But Grant County came back and took the lead before holding on for the win late with good defense and good pitching.
McLafferty pointed to the fact that Williamstown did not strike out one time against Grant County as a sign of major improvement for the Lady Demons.
Hankinson, Pinkston and Magee scored the runs for Williamstown.
Williamstown will be back at home on April 24 against Simon Kenton before hosting Newport on April 28.