BANDON — A year ago, Bandon’s softball results against Toledo weren’t great. The Boomers beat the Tigers twice with a combined score of 26-2.
Friday afternoon, Toledo pulled away late to win 10-4 in a game that was way closer than the score suggested.
“The last two years’ we’ve gotten our butts handed to us by Toledo,” Bandon coach Brandon Gallagher said. “I love (Toledo coach) Howie (Richards) and Toledo’s a good team, so he’s usually really nice when he plays us and tries not to run the score up. So for us to go 10-4 and hold them within six and all those came in the seventh (is encouraging).”
It was a couple of mistakes, coupled with a late-awakening Toledo offense, which sunk Bandon on Friday.
But that doesn’t mean the Tigers played poorly. Bandon worked eight walks off Toledo pitcher Mariah Frederic, but left the bases loaded twice and scored only the four runs.
Bandon pitcher Avery Pounder was solid all afternoon, striking out three and walking two. The only free bases Toledo got in bulk were from errors, of which Bandon committed five.
Those defensive miscues, while frustrating, are somewhat to be expected from a team with nearly half of its roster in ninth or tenth grade.
“I have a young team,” Gallagher said. “I’m starting freshmen all over the place. It’s a learning experience.”
It was Bandon’s first loss of the year and was the second time it scored single-digit runs.
The loss gives Bandon areas to focus on and improve, something huge wins don’t necessarily afford.
“This is a realization point,” Pounder said. “We’ve won every game, and once we’ve started playing good teams, we know what we need to get done.”
Toledo took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Kaycie Otis led off with a single then Frederic followed with one of those two walks.
Otis moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a delayed steal. She scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Rylee Richards. Frederic came home on a wild pitch later in the inning.
Bandon, though, responded in the bottom half by sending eight batters to the plate with two scoring.
Elizabeth Gallagher started with a walk, but got thrown out when she took off for second on a strikeout when she should’ve stayed put.
Then Naomi Martin got hit on the ankle and Angel He came in to run for her. Dedra Foster walked to follow. That brought up Pounder who, after a wild pitch moved up the runners, rolled one just past Richards, plating both He and Foster to tie the game.
Bandon loaded the bases later in the inning when Bella Erenfeld got hit and Angie Morones walked, but nothing more came of the inning.
Pounder didn’t face more than four batters in an inning for the next three frames, but Bandon left the bases full again in the third, failing to take the lead in its best chance to.
It was the fifth when Toledo took its lead that it never relented.
Bandon started the inning with an error, then Maddy Metcalf walked. After a strikeout, Frederic doubled over Alyssa Duenas’ head in left, and Jocelyn Hernandez scored from a second. That would’ve been all, but a bad throw from third base to Pounder in the circle gave Metcalf time to score and Frederic scampered around to third, where she scored on a second Richards sacrifice fly, this one to left.
Bandon cut the lead by a run in the home sixth when, after Frederic walked the bases loaded, Carlee Freitag scored on a wild pitch to pull Bandon within two 5-3.
In the top of the seventh, though, Toledo broke it open.
Metcalf started with a walk and scored on an error on another bad throw after the play was seemingly over. Otis singled and moved up on a groundout, then scored on a Richards single — her third RBI of the game. Mahala Fisher reached on an error and, after an infield fly, Hannah Mann drove in a run with a single.
Then Morgan Hinds drove in a pair with a single, giving Toledo a 10-3 lead.
Bandon, though, didn’t pack in it in the seventh. The Tigers landed three straight singles from Foster, Pounder and Erenfeld, the last of which plated Foster for Bandon’s fourth run. Morones then flew out to left, but Pounder was thrown out at home trying to tag and score.
Though a loss, it wasn’t discouraging. By any means.
“Once we get (going), it gets good,” Pounder said. “Everyone’s there for each other.”