COVENTRY — The Coventry softball team could easily be 4-0 and looking down at the rest of Division I.
Instead the Oakers find themselves in the middle of the pack following Tuesday morning’s gut-wrenching, extra-innings defeat to visiting Cumberland.
The Oakers threw away a three-run lead in the top of the seventh and then failed to score a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to send the contest into another extra inning. Cumberland scored three runs against freshman pitcher Kaitlin Mattera in the ninth and the Oakers couldn’t respond in a 10-7 defeat.
“We should’ve won the game just like the North Kingstown game in the bottom of the eighth anyways,” Coventry coach Chris Daigneault said. “It’s tough. We’re where I want us to kind of be, it’s just that we’re giving up a lot of runs and we have to find a way not to do that.”
“It’s frustrating because we have them through most of the innings and then there’s that one inning where they catch up,” senior third baseman Kristin Gallagher said. “It’s just a tough loss that we need to recover from. We just have to stay up and if a mistake happens we have to let it go.”
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Coventry (2-2 Division I) has now lost two extra-inning games in the ninth inning when the Oakers could’ve easily won the game in the eighth inning.
Cumberland (3-1 Division I) tied the game with three runs in the seventh inning, but Mattera kept the Clippers off the scoreboard in the eighth inning and Coventry thought it had the game in its hands with Haley Dennis starting the inning at second base and the top of the order looming.
After Kerrie DeLiberis struck out trying to bunt Dennis to third, Tatiana Webb reached first on an infield error. Rachel Ballm who already had two hits in the contest, struck out and Gallagher flew out to deep left field to end the inning.
Cumberland, just like North Kingstown did to the Oakers two weeks ago at the same field, scored three runs in the ninth inning to take control of the contest. Senior captain Caylin Legare delivered a two-run single to put the Clippers ahead 9-7 and then Legare scored on a Sydnee Shabomardenly hit.
The senior second baseman proved to a thorn in the Oakers’ side all afternoon. She had three hits, three RBIs, two runs scored and six total bases.
Coventry gave itself a chance to make a comeback in the last of the ninth against Cumberland starter Juliet Nelson when Nikki Bent and Alyssa Derrick both reached base with no outs to load the bases.
Mattera, who had already reached base three times and scored two runs, hit a soft line drive to short. Cumberland shortstop Sam Bertherman fielded the ball and threw out Gallagher at home and Connors threw bent out at third to end the rally.