SHAWNEE — Tuttle’s postseason softball ride came to an abrupt end Friday afternoon in a 7-0 shutout loss to Bethel.
It was an uncharacteristic loss given Tuttle’s recent run of form that saw them easily through the regional round last week. The Lady Tigers only managed five hits off Bethel’s Kim Herron.
“I just think they tried to do too much instead of playing their game,” Tuttle head coach Jennifer Prince said. “They’ve never looked like that, that I remember. I definitely thought we should be playing on Saturday.”
The signs of a Bethel blowout came early, with leadoff hitter Kelsey Eropkin hitting a double off the first pitch from Bailee Saye. The sudden swing in momentum seemed to rattle Saye and the Lady Tigers, and Eropkin later reached home off a wild pitch to give Bethel the early lead.
“When you start out, you’ve got some nerves, and when that happened the nerves get a little worse. Usually if you can get through the first inning they’ll calm down,” Prince said. “I think that bothered her at first, but when you get here, that’s when you forget about that pitch and go onto the next one.”
Herron was in top form, making things difficult for the Tuttle batters who were unable to hit any gaps in the infield. Bethel then added another run in the top of the third inning, when Mikayla Whitten’s double brought in Bry Flanagan to double their lead.
Everything started going Bethel’s way in the fourth. With runners already on first and second, Shelby Miller’s bunt looked to have been fielded, but the umpire called her safe at first. This prompted a discussion from Prince, who was convinced the runner was out.
“Would that have made a difference if she would have been called out? I don’t know, obviously,” Prince said. “It didn’t help us, and she was clearly out. It just seemed like nothing went our way. We didn’t handle the controversies well.”