Ten times during the course of Monday’s game with Bay View, Toll Gate batters came to the plate with a runner in scoring position. Nine of those times, the Titans came up short.
At the end of the day, Toll Gate came up short on the scoreboard too. The Bengals scored three runs over the final three innings to take control of the game and win 5-2.
The Titans most certainly had their chances. They just didn’t come through.
“You just can’t leave base runners on like that with less than two outs,” Toll Gate head coach Shana O’Connor said. “We did that a lot today.”
Toll Gate fell to 7-8 in Division I and Bay View improved to 7-8, tying them for 10th place. The two teams have both clinched berths in the postseason, which begins next Thursday, and are now simply battling for position.
It was the second consecutive loss for the Titans, who also lost to undefeated Lincoln last Friday.
Against Bay View, they stranded runners in scoring position in the first, the second and the third, and left the bases loaded in both the fifth and the sixth.
In the top of the first inning, Jenna Beauchamp led off with a double off the right-center field fence and Courtney Conklin was hit by a Lexi Santurri pitch. With two on and nobody out – and the team’s No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters coming up – Toll Gate failed to get either runner home.
“That’s the thing, we left too many runners on base,” O’Connor said. “We lead off the game with a double and then a hit by a pitch and can’t get those runners in with no outs.”
Facing Toll Gate starter Courtney Sheridan, Bay View took the lead in the second inning when Courtney McArthur doubled and Madison Caffrey reached on a Sheridan error on a ball that she threw high to first, scoring McArthur. Caffrey then came around on an error by center fielder Brooke Cascalenda, allowing Caffrey to score.
“We seem to make a couple mistakes here and there,” O’Connor said. “The game should have been closer – there were a couple of unearned runs for them on some routine plays. We’ve got to clean up the defense just a little bit more.”
Toll Gate struck right back in the second, as Karley Mallette and Laura Salisbury walked, and Beauchamp followed that with a long, two-out triple to right field, plating them both and tying the score. That was the Titans’ lone hit with runners in scoring position.
Toll Gate stranded two more runners in the third and another in the fourth before Bay View took the lead back in the fifth. On the first pitch of the inning, No. 7 hitter Alexandria Rodi took Sheridan’s pitch and deposited it over the left-field fence for a solo home run.
Down just a run, the Titans got a leadoff single from Jamie Hopgood in the bottom half of the frame, and then got two-out singles from Sheridan and Mallette to load the bases. But Santurri got Cascalenda swinging, ending the threat.
“They’re a good hitting team,” O’Connor said. “We knew they were going to score some runs. We just couldn’t produce the same amount.”
The Bengals padded their lead in the sixth inning, as Shannon McArthur walked and Christina Brazeau and Courtney McArthur singled to load the bases. Toll Gate nearly got out of the jam unscathed, as it cut down two runners at the plate. Then Alexandria Rodi stepped in, however, and singled to left-center, plating two and giving Bay View some breathing room.
Toll Gate threatened once more in the sixth, as it loaded the bases with two outs, but once again it couldn’t get anyone home. This time, Ingrid Freeman fouled out to third to end the inning.
Courtney Marsh came on to pitch the seventh for Toll Gate, and she got through the inning unscathed and then laced a one-out single in the seventh, but the Titans could get no closer. Salisbury struck out to end the game.
In total, Toll Gate left 13 runners on base.
The Titans have one game left on the season, and it was scheduled for Wednesday at home against 12-2 North Kingstown. After that, it’s full speed ahead for the single-elimination round of the playoffs next week.
“We’ve beaten some really good teams this season,” O’Connor said. “Our goal for the season was .500 and we’re almost there. We have one game left to do it, to reach our goal and then we’re going to go forward with the playoffs. Hopefully, win the first game, get in the double elimination tournament and go from there.”