MARION — With weather forecasts calling for below-freezing temperatures on Tuesday, almost every spring sports team in the region postponed or canceled their games for that day.
But the Dawson Springs and Crittenden County softball teams still played out their season opener, despite it all.
The temperature in Marion was 32 degrees when the game started, but wind chill made things even colder, dropping it to 21 degrees by the end, while snow flurries came on and off throughout the contest.
But despite it all, the two teams played through it like professionals, and although Dawson lost to Crittenden 10-0 in five innings, coach Kyle Chappell said he couldn’t be more proud of his team for braving the elements.
“I didn’t hear a single complaint from a single one of them about being cold,” Chappell said. “It shows we’re up for some adversity. We’re always the underdog, and the way they show their heart, playing in a game like this, it just shows that we’re ready to fight through it.”
The game got off to a rocky start for the Lady Panthers (0-1), as they gave up four runs to the Lady Rockets (1-0) in the first inning.
Senior pitcher Erin Woolsey settled in for Dawson, shutting out Crittenden over the next two innings, but things fell apart in the fourth when a flurry of errors allowed the Lady Rockets to put up five more runs. Crittenden scored the final run it needed for the mercy rule in the fifth, in part thanks to another error by the Lady Panthers defense.
“We kind of just got stuck there (in the fourth),” Chappell said. “Errors lead to errors, put runners in a tough positions where (the fielders) have to make a decision.
“We were thinking too much. If we’d just thrown the ball where we needed to throw it, we would’ve been fine, got the outs, but we took a couple chances and it bit us in the butt.”
On the offensive side of things, Dawson struggled to drive runners in, as the team
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got a runner in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings – including a spot where it loaded the bases in the third with just one out – but always came away scoreless.
“We had the runners in position to win that game,” Chappell said. “Hit the ball really well. This time last year, we probably had two or three hits in the game, but we were really putting people on the whole time, I was happy with that.”
Despite the five-inning loss, Chappell said he still saw some good things from his team in the season opener, and thinks the team has real potential this year.
“Exposed some stuff we’re going to work on, but it’s little tweaks, it’s not big problems,” Chappell said. “Last year we had some big problems to fix at this time in the season, now we’ve got little tweaks here and there. We’re going to be a competitive team.”