Clyde Ditto understands that sometimes you just have to pick your battles.
That much was true following Smith-Cotton’s 9-6 loss to Boonville in Wednesday’s home opener at Vansell Field, where the Smith-Cotton coach didn’t harp on the four errors, the 3-for-12 batting clip with runners in scoring position or the eight stranded runners.
Instead, after battling a team that the Lady Tigers lost to 14-2 in five innings earlier in the year, Ditto focused on the positives.
“The girls battled the whole game,” he said. “We may have not come up with that big, clutch hit, but we were one or two hits from winning the ballgame. That’s one of those games that could have gone either way.”
Represented by the combined 21 hits, there were no struggles at the dish for either team.
Boonville, which improved to 6-1, collected 11 hits against Hayley Shelley, who gave up nine runs — six earned — for the loss.
The senior did limit the big inning, holding the Lady Pirates to 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position, but they scored in every frame — one in the first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh innings and two in the third and fourth.
“Boonville’s a pretty good hitting ball club,” Ditto said. “They’re going to put it in play. Hayley was around the zone and she made them hit the ball.”
The Lady Tigers (2-5) also hit the ball well, collecting 10 hits from up and down the lineup.
For instance, led by two hits apiece form Abby Perkins and Tiffani Dixon, eight of the nine starters garnered a base knock and every one of them reached base safely.
But as Ditto said, the Lady Tigers just couldn’t get that clutch hit.
“They played hard and we got plenty of hits; we just didn’t get the timely hits,” Ditto said.
To the Smith-Cotton’s credit, there were a few timely hits. They were just few and far between.
Take the third frame, when — after the Lady Tigers cut a 2-0 lead in half with a bases-loaded walk from Dixon — Jordyn Kemp came through with a two-out, two-RBI single to give the Lady Tigers a 3-2 lead.
But as was the case all evening, the Lady Pirates had an answer.
Plating two runs in the third on a pair of hits and then two unearned runs in the fourth, Boonville would never relinquish the lead.
Shelby Parker shrunk the 6-3 lead with an RBI double to center in the fourth and Tiffany Hardy later added a two-out, two-run double in the sixth to make it 8-6, but Michelle Surrat tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the seventh to close out the win.
“It was a way better effort, a much better showing than the first game,” Ditto said. “The girls really hung in there.”
IF YOU GO
Smith-Cotton vs. Winnetonka
9:30 a.m. Saturday at Winnetonka tournament in Kansas City