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Lack of production dooms Niwot against Longmont

 

September 25, 2019 | View PDF

Jocelyn Rowley

Head coach Bobby Matthews counsels his team during the fifth inning against Longmont on Sept. 20.

Niwot softball has hit a bit of a rough patch since going 7-4 to start the season, but head coach Bobby Matthews was sanguine after his team's messy 7-2 loss to rival Longmont on Sept. 21. With 10 games still to go in the 2019 season, he said his eager team should be able to "clean things up" heading into the final push for the post-season.

"We're not as good as we could be, but we've shown glimpses of that," he said. "We've fought and battled through some games, and done some things really well, but we're not quite there yet. But I expect this team towards the end of the year to hit that peak and hit our stride and be playing our best ball."

The Cougars played some of their best ball of the season just two days earlier, on Sept. 18, in a dramatic 22-hit win over the Northridge Grizzlies (9-4). Leading Niwot was sophomore shortstop Ayva McComas, who went 4-for-5 with six RBIs, including Niwot's final run in the 19-17 victory. Six other Cougars had multi-hit games, including senior Reagan Wills, with two triples, and senior Nikki Sims, who also had four hits on the day, a feat she would repeat against the Trojans, though without the three RBIs.

Unfortunately, it seems the Northridge game may have used up most of Niwot's RBI quota for the week. Though they managed 10 hits against Longmont, that turned into just two runs, when Wills doubled to left, scoring Sims and Calista Law, who singled ahead of her.

Matthews said that ratio has to get better, but admitted that could be a challenge for Niwot without their top hitter and starting pitcher Aliyah McComas, who has been sidelined with an injury since mid-September.. Before that, she led the team in nearly all offensive categories, including average (.606), hits (20) and RBIs (14), and was a reliable presence in the circle. Without her, the Cougars have lost three of their last four, and been outscored by their opponents 24-42.

"At the end of the day, it's the next person up, and they've got to step up," Matthews said.. "We did it on Wednesday, against a team that's very good, but we couldn't do it today. ...At the end of the day, we have to figure it out."

Jocelyn Rowley

A Longmont player slides into 3rd base ahead of the throw from catcher Reagan Wills to Jasmine Aldama in Niwot's loss to the Trojans on Sept. 20.

Senior Esme O'Rourke has fulfilled Aliyah's pitching duties, and was in the circle against Longmont. In six complete innings, she allowed seven runs on three hits with six walks. The Cougars defense also had an off day against the Trojans, allowing five errors, including three in Longmont's four-run fifth. But Matthews said he wasn't as bothered by that as he was the lack of offensive production.

"Esme kept us in the game. I don't think our defense was bad. We had a few little miscues and a few errors, but they didn't cost us that much."

Overall, Matthews is still confident his team is on the right track, even if they might have to work a little harder to stay on it.

"I think we're ok, and I know we're going to be ok, and we have to get over it fast. That was my message to the team. Get over it fast, and move on, and we can't dwell on this."

 

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