When a team scores four runs in the fifth inning to complete an 11-1 win and solidify its 9-0 record as one of the top two teams in the state, according to the 2A girls softball rankings, what’s not to like?

When you consider that Pusch Ridge Christian Academy pitcher Corrie Ward struck out eight, walked one, and allowed only a one-out single in the fifth (that deprived her of a no-hitter), that’s what you want. Isn’t it?

Yes, it is. Yet coach Bob Vance was disappointed in his team’s performance on two fronts: defense and base-running.

The PRCA Lions made three errors the first time through the Desert Christian lineup. They were fortunate that it only cost them one run.

“We went in very flat,” Vance said. “We had an off week.”

The Lions led 2-1 through two innings. Against a team with a losing record, and against a pitcher who was struggling to throw strikes, the start seemed rather lethargic.

“Our intensity level wasn’t what it should’ve been,” Ward said. “We underestimated them.”

The second time through the order, the Lions appeared to right their ship.

Sarah Majors opened up with a walk and stole second. Ward singled her to third, before Kaycee Thompson tripled in both runners. An infield hit put runners on first and third with one out.

Then, Rachel Ellis doubled in two more runs to give the Lions a 6-1 lead. Suddenly, with two outs and runners on second and third, the Lions made a base-running blunder. On a ground ball, the runner on third held, while the runner on second tried to advance. The runner on second got caught between second and third and was tagged out before the runner on third could score. It was clearly one of baseball’s cardinal sins of running bases.

Vance said that if the team needs to work on anything, it’s “situational awareness.”

The Lions stole at least five bases in the game, and took many other extra bases on wild pitches and passed balls.

“One gift we have is speed,” Vance said. “Rachel Majors is as quick as I’ve seen.”

Majors had an infield hit, a walk, and scored two runs.

The Lions put it away, benefiting from the 10-run rule, in the fifth. Sarah Majors tripled in a pair to make it 10-1, and then she came home on a wild pitch for the winner.

There were no questions about the batting and pitching. In addition to Ward’s pitching gem, the Lions banged out 13 hits. Eight of the nine starters had hits.

Sarah Majors, Ward, Thompson, Mariela Ramirez, and Ellis each had two hits in the game. Sarah Majors had a double, a triple, a walk and three runs batted in. She also scored three runs.

“We had timely hits,” Ward said. “It wasn’t the best game.”

Ward was asked if the unbeaten Lions could make noise in this year’s playoffs.

“If we play our best, and stay focused, I expect us to go far,” Ward said. “We have to keep our intensity level high in games and in practice.”

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