Seven-time defending 4A state champion Piedra Vista picked up a 10-2 win against 3A Bloomfield in a seven-inning game Thursday at the Farmington Sports Complex.
Though the Lady Panthers (15-5) scored 10 times, only two of those runs could be charged to Sappington, who limited PV to just five hits in the game.
“She pitched her butt off, but when you have 14 routine errors in a game, it puts a lot of pressure on her,” Bloomfield head coach Andi Clark said about her pitcher. “Up against a good PV team, I couldn’t ask for more from her.
She did awesome.”
Sappington recorded just one strikeout but she didn’t issue a walk.
“Becca is a very good pitcher. She kept us off-balance,” said PV senior pitcher Krissy Fortner. “I don’t think we hit our best, but we squared some hard balls up.”
PV struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning when Danielle Ortiz scored on a fielder’s choice after reaching on an error to begin the game. Fortner then drove in Susie Chandler with a single.
An error in the second inning didn’t cost Bloomfield but three fielding errors in the third allowed Tabor Woosley to score on another Fortner single.
The damage was mostly done in the fourth inning when PV scored three runs on just one hit and no walks as Bloomfield committed five errors.
“The girls just need to learn to play the ball. We have to make routine plays,” Clark said.
Tegan Woosley started a four-run fifth inning for Piedra Vista with a solo home run to center field.
Four more Bloomfield errors led to three more runs in the fifth inning.
“I thought it was a good game. It worked out. They kicked the ball around quite a bit, but they are better than that,” said PV head coach Kevin Werth. “I thought Bloomfield played well. If they clean up their mistakes, they are going to be hard to beat.
Werth was happy the PV hitters could see another talented arm like Sappington before beginning the District 1-4A schedule on Friday at Kirtland Central.
“That was important for us this late in the season. To still see a quality arm outside of district is great,” he said. “I thought we did hit the ball hard. To our girls’ credit, a lot of those errors were because our girls hit the ball hard. I hope we can pick it back up (Friday) and pick up our first two district wins in Kirtland.”
Fortner picked up the win inside the circle for PV.
The talented senior had six strikeouts in seven innings of work. She allowed eight hits and was charged with just one run in the fifth inning when Haili Bekes scored after singling.
Bekes was 3-for-4 in the game for the Lady Bobcats. Thalia O’Neill was 2-for-3 with a double hitting out of the nine-hole for Bloomfield.
“They have really good hitters. One through nine, they are solid with a pretty good lineup,” Fortner said.
Clark was also pleased with the way the Lady Bobcats hit the ball.
“After all those errors, we never gave up. The effort and heart was still there. We aren’t making the routine plays, but we are coming back up and hitting the ball,” Clark said.
Clark said Thursday was Bloomfield’s fifth or sixth game with more than 10 errors this season. If the Lady Bobcats are going to make a run in 3A, she knows that has to change quickly.
“We are beating ourselves on unearned runs. When you play that well, it should be a different game. We need to take it as a learning lesson,” she said. “We have five games left. It is hard to beat two teams — the other plus yourself.”
Bloomfield (13-8, 3-0 District 1-3A) will get its next chance to play on Tuesday against Shiprock in a District 1-3A doubleheader.
The Lady Panthers are excited to turn their attention to the district season with just six games remaining before they make a run at an eighth consecutive state title.
“We have been waiting for district to start. We are kind of anxious, but I think we are ready,” Fortner said.
John Livingston can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.