La Salle-Peru softball coach Mike Schmidt had a conversation with his team Thursday after its win at Dixon about being prepared for the first inning.
Despite the talking to, the Lady Cavaliers still struggled in the opening frame Friday.
L-P gave up three runs in the first inning en route to a 3-1 non-conference loss to Rock Falls at Veterans Park in Peru.
“(Thursday) night we talked about being prepared the first inning of the game just like the seventh inning of the game,” Schmidt said. “I thought that first inning tonight we just came out flat. Obviously, that ended up being the game tonight.”
L-P pitcher Brittany Zawacki allowed a lead-off single to Morgan Mammosser, who then stole second base.
After a lineout, Linsey Brown hit the ball back to Zawacki and Mammosser ran to third.
Zawacki threw to third baseman Haley Wren to try to get Mammosser, but the Lady Rocket center fielder beat the throw, leaving runners on first and third.
Brown took second base to put a pair of runners in scoring position for clean-up hitter Jordan Giddings, who delivered a two-run double through the right side of the infield.
Following another out, Rock Falls pitcher Michaela Ward hit a slow ground ball to Wren, who fired high to first baseman Brianna Zeman, which allowed Giddings to score the third run of the inning.
“It just all goes back to being prepared to play the first inning of the game,” Schmidt said. “If you take away the two mistakes we had in the first inning, those were the difference in the game.”
Zawacki shut the Lady Rockets down the rest of the way. She allowed just two more hits over the final six innings.
“I don’t know what else our pitching could do to keep us in the game, but we have to get production out of our entire lineup,” Schmidt said. “We’re just so spotty right now. We really have to work harder on certain aspects of our offense.”
The Lady Cavs managed just four hits with two coming in the third inning when they scored their lone run on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Taylor Naumann.
L-P stranded a runner at third base in the third and left a runner on second base in the fourth.
The Lady Cavs also missed a chance in the sixth when Naumann led off with a steal but was doubled off on a fly ball to right field on a hit-and-run.
“In tight games like that, you have to be able to execute all the plays, and that one we didn’t,” Schmidt said.
Ward allowed just one run on four hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
“I just thought she was doing a nice job of keeping the ball low,” Schmidt said. “To me, it looked like everything was coming inside on us, and we just weren’t adjusting. We weren’t getting our hands cleared.
“I thought we were going through very clearly how to make adjustments to that during the course of (Thursday) night’s game and tonight’s game, but telling them how to make adjustments and then making the adjustments are sometimes two different things.”
The Lady Cavs (11-5) return to action Monday at Rock Island.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.