Lady Cougars’ Determination Pays Off

After 4-1 start in a fractured by weather season, on a dry field under windy 68-degree conditions, Cougars softball played a tense game against the Patriots of Wootton and lost on errors. “We’ve done well in the past few games giving up an error, but that was the difference — we’re not a four-error team because we don’t have the power to hit behind it,” said Coach Colleen Kelly. Indeed, QO’s first run was a creation of Megan Dougherty who bunted to get on base in the first, stole second and third and scored on an error, one of three on the day for Wootton. QO had five, which proved to be their undoing in the struggle.

Defensively, both teams played exceptionally with Nat Sizdakhani raising her total of runners picked off to seven or eight for season. She nailed three in this game. An accurate strong throw from Megan Fisher to Dougherty at third following a Fisher catch ended what could have been a huge inning for Wootton in the third after they scored their last of their four runs. The final play of the Wootton seventh inning was an excellent recovery of a ground ball by Nicole Beisner. Coincidentally, Wootton’s left fielder Bryana Wise made a spectacular catch in the sixth only to open up the inning to some scoring by committing an error on the very next batter. Still, QO left two on base and despite a leadoff walk, Susannah Weaver was picked off at second and though Sizdakhani doubled off the center field fence, the last two Cougars grounded to short to end the game.

Beisner and starting pitcher Sydney Maxwell combined to give up nine hits. “We don’t have a regular rhythm yet because of the start and stop nature of the season thus far, but they never give up,” said Coach Kelly. “We’ll get it together any day now.”

They got it together the next night at Churchill in another tense struggle that went extra innings before QO unleashed a sudden and previously missing assault on the ball and scored 3 runs to win at Churchill, 7-5. While the Cougars were damaged by 6 errors, they overcame them save for the first inning when the Bulldogs scored two runs on two Cougar miscues. Starter Nicole Beisner tossed a 6-hitter, mixing speeds effectively, while Susannah Weaver led the hitters with a 2-for-4 day with 2 runs scored and 2 driven in. Sizdakhani sparkled in the 6th, throwing out a bunter, Alex Votow, at first. Another fielding gem belonged to Sydney Zavadil and, again, the victim was Votow as Zavadil made a long throw to first on a hard ground ball.

“We fielded the ball nicely,” said Coach Kelly, “but we just couldn’t throw well.” Coach Kelly is puzzled as to the reasons for the continued errors, but the weather breaks and lack of outdoor practice are likely causes.

Next for the Cougars were the Damascus Eagles. This team, an annual thorn in QO’s side, lost nine seniors last spring. We did not see the game, but it is reaching toward legend already as the Cougars opened with 13 in the first inning and coasted to a 24-1 win.