Early in the season, Hays High softball coach Erin Wagner can live with a couple defensive mistakes here and there as long as the Indians don’t let the miscues carry over to the next play.
But Hays High couldn’t keep the errors from multiplying during Tuesday’s doubleheader against Garden City, plaguing the Indians in 9-3 and 11-5 losses at Dusty Glassman Ball Park.
“We seem to build on our mistakes rather than our successes and we needed to focus on bouncing back from mistakes rather than dwelling on them and letting things snowball,” Wagner said.
Hays (2-2) was charged with 20 errors in the twin bill, including 14 in the second game.
“A lot of that is just mental focus and that’s something we need to focus on in the coming days,” Wagner said.
Hays High scored the first run of the day in the bottom of the first in Game 1, but Garden City (4-0) answered with six runs in the top of the second and added two more runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to open up a 9-1 lead.
The Indians trimmed the lead to 9-3 in the fifth after RBI doubles from MacKenzie Fagan and Reagan Smith but couldn’t draw closer.
Garden City senior Hailey Dart held the Indians to just four hits while striking out five and walking two. Kaitlyn Brown took the loss for Hays High, giving up six runs in 1.1 innings of work before Jaysa Wichers came on in relief, allowing three runs (one earned) while giving up seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The Buffaloes tallied 11 hits in Game 1, including doubles from Dart, Erykah Foster, Yazmin Vargas and Taylor Terpstra.
The highlight for Hays High in the second game was the bottom of the third inning, which featured a single from Wichers, a double from freshman Brenna Schwien and a two-run double from freshman McKinley Wamser that put the Indians in front 4-3.
However, the Indians spotted Garden City three runs in the fourth and five more in the sixth as the Buffloes took advantage of Hays errors.
The Indians totaled seven hits in the second game. Brown had the only multi-hit outing at the plate for the Hays with two hits.
“The quality of our at-bats definitely got better, (but) there’s just some adjustments we need to make with our swings to get better hits,” Wagner said. “Some of them were just hit right at people so there’s not a lot you can do about that.”
Wichers, who went the distance in the second game, was charged with just two runs in the second game, with nine of Garden's runs unearned. She gave up 10 hits while striking out four.
“I told Jaysa I’m very proud of her today,” Wagner said. “She battled back. Even when there were mistakes behind her, she kept throwing and she worked hard. Nothing but great things to say about Jaysa today.”
The Indians will play host to Dodge City in a 4 p.m. doubleheader Thursday at Dusty Glassman.
“We’ll have to bounce back for Thursday,” Wagner said.