SOUTH COUNTY • A combination of bad luck at the plate and shaky defense usually spells disaster on the diamond.
It did on Wednesday afternoon for Marquette, which twice lined into double plays and committed four errors -- two of which led directly to three runs -- as Mehlville edged the Mustangs 4-3 in a Suburban West Conference game at Mehlville.
“We had a lot of missed opportunities,” said Marquette coach Chris Meador, whose team banged out 11 hits to Mehlville’s six. “But give Mehlville credit. They made the tough plays when they needed to.”
“We knew this was going to be our swing game for the week, so we had confidence coming out,” Mehlville coach Kristin Busch-Wheatley said. “We wanted the win to even up our record. All the ladies came out and executed like we wanted them to.”
Despite allowing at least one hit in every inning, Mehlville (6-6 overall, 1-1 in conference play) starter Michelle Boyer was able to keep the Mustangs (7-6, 1-1) off the scoreboard for the first four innings.
“I like to change speeds to keep hitters off balance,” said the senior, who struck out four and walked two. “I mainly just tried to hit my spots and let my defense do the work. They did a fabulous job.”
Boyer pitched in as well. In the top of the second inning, she snared a line drive off the bat of Karen Hermach, then threw to first base to double off Nicole Seevers, who had reached on a one-out single.
Mehlville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Jenna Parrot doubled, and when Kayla Hezel bunted her to third, she reached base on a high throw to first. Boyer followed with a line shot right at left fielder Seevers, which went off her glove allowing both runners to score.
Marquette tied the game with two runs on four hits in the fifth. But in the sixth inning the Panthers took the lead for good. With one out, Boyer and senior Amanda Lerbs hit back-to-back singles, and Boyer scored on a single to left center by junior Amber Koch.
“Going up I was really nervous,” Koch said. “It was a tight situation in the game, and I’ve kind of been in a slump. … It felt really good to get that run in.”
Madison McKinley then hit a grounder that went off the glove of shortstop Megan Clince, scoring Lerbs for a 4-2 lead.
Marquette senior Courtney Crutchfield led off the top of the seventh with a single to right. Clince, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate, then lined to second baseman Jessica Crawford, and Crawford threw to first to double off Crutchfield.
After a walk to Monica Weiss, senior Sydney Ozersky knocked in her second run of the game with a double to the right field wall. But with the tying run at second, Boyer fanned catcher Kristin Lee for the final out.
It was a tough loss to take for the Mustangs, who also lost a runner at the plate in the top of the sixth. Breanna Gonzalez led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on Seevers’ ground out. Hermach followed with a squeeze bunt, but Boyer pounced on the ball and threw to catcher Lauren Lang, who tagged out a sliding Gonzalez on a bang-bang play.
Meador said the Mustangs made some good plays, but they made a couple critical mistakes at inopportune times.
“Nine times out of 10, I trust the same kids to make those plays,” Meador said. “Those (errors) weren’t the two reasons we lost. We had 11 hits and had opportunities. … This was one of those games you learn from and move on.”