CLOPTON – Leads slipped away from the Clopton Ladyhawks in both of their games last week, leaving the team with two losses.

That lead against Louisiana was always narrow: a 1-0 edge gained in the bottom of the first on the strength of a homerun to center field by Brooklynn McKenney.

It still held till the fifth inning, when Louisiana broke through in a big way: seven runs, one on the strength of a three-run triple. Fielding errors and walks helped Louisiana capitalize on the situation.

Clopton managed to retaliate in the bottom of the sixth, registering another run on a ground ball by Logan Hall into an error by the Louisiana third baseman that allowed Hall to round the bases. Louisiana also scored again, leading the game 8-2.

Against the Silex Owls the team’s early lead was more substantial.

The Ladyhawks came out of the second inning ahead 3-0.

A ground ball and an error by a Silex shortstop allowed Madison Horstmeier to reach first and two of her teamates — Caragan Lockard and Madelyn Brune — to reach.

Horstmeier then set out around the bases, stealing second, reaching third on a passed ball, and scoring on an error by the Silex catcher.

Silex scored in the second but Clopton maintained the size of its advantage with another run in the third, with Logan Hall scoring on a passed ball.

In the bottom of the third, however, the Owls blew the game open. Silex hit its way to eight runs, turning a 4-1 game 9-4.

Silex kept going, securing runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, while Clopton dried up offensively.

Head Coach Tony Francis saw patterns in last week’s games that have played out throughout the team’s season.

“In both games we came out of the gate strong and had leads, but as has been the trend throughout the season, we have one bad inning where a mistake happens and it snowballs into catastrophe. Francis said. “At some point this team will acquire the ability to shut the door after a mistake and control the damage.  

“That point will come when we learn how to lift our teammates up and not be concerned with ourselves,” Francis added. “The confidence we gain at that point will allow us to focus on the present and have fun in a very competitive situation.”

Clopton softball plays Mark Twain at home Tuesday and Wright City away Thursday.

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