Giana Quintanar struck out eight batters through 4 1/3 innings, but the Timberwolves failed to produce enough offense in a 4-1 loss in their first home game of the season against Liberty.
Quintanar had struck out six entering the fourth inning, including a second inning in which she struck out the side. The sophomore walked the leadoff batter in the fourth inning, however, which set in motion the game-defining frame where Liberty scored three runs.
“I tell my pitchers all the time that a leadoff walk is going to come back to bite you nine times out of ten,” said coach Sarah Santana. “
In this case, that leadoff walk did come back to bite the Timberwolves; two singles and a second walk meant three runs crossed the plate. Quintanar got out of the inning by striking out another two batters but she was replaced a third of an inning later.
They [Liberty] were just able to capitalize on us giving up a couple of extra bases and our defense bobbled a couple of balls, so they just capitalized on us not being sharp,” Santana added.
McKenzie Reinhardt scored Clovis East’s lone run, she reached base on an error, stole second and made it home off additional fielding errors by Liberty. The Timberwolves’ best shot at scoring runs came in the first inning, but that rally fizzled without producing any runs.
Santana credited Liberty pitcher Jayline Sloss. Sloss struck out eight and gave up one run – it was not charged as an earned run, however.
“She was a good pitcher; she did a good job of attacking the outside corner and mixing the changeups in. We had runners in scoring position and we just didn’t make adjustments when we needed to.” Said Santana.
Working on the team’s confidence and making some adjustments in the batter’s box will be the priority for the Timberwolves going forward, but Santana is not concerned about her team’s ability to compete.
‘It’s a good group of girls, I’m confident and I like who I have. I’m still confident in Giana [Quintanar], I’m still confident in my defense, I’m still confident that I have Anna [Coil] coming in to shut it down or start games when she needs to. It just comes down to making adjustments in the box,” Santana described.
Coil was brought in in the fifth inning and she pitched to the end of the game. She struck out one batter and stabilized the game defensively for the Timberwolves to try and mount an offensive challenge. Ultimately, though, that challenge never came.