Nothing in softball is more dreaded than the “mercy rule.”
Desert Ridge softball fell victim to the rule in a 12-0 loss to Pinnacle when the game was called in the fifth inning.
The Jaguars were hanging with the Pioneers through the third inning, but gave up six runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth.
Desert Ridge finished the game with only two hits, one from Shaylee Ackerman and one from Sydney Broderick.
The Jaguars fell behind right off the bat after a leadoff single for the Pioneers. After a wild pitch and a double, Pinnacle was ahead 2-0 in the first.
Both teams remained scoreless for the next two innings, with Desert Ridge batters going three up, three down in both the second and third.
“It was tough. Marissa (Schuld) is a great pitcher, I’ll give her credit, but we weren’t disciplined,” Desert Ridge coach Jennifer Broderick said.
The big trouble came when Desert Ridge pitcher Ackerman had to battle her way out of a tough fourth inning. After giving up two singles and hitting a batter, the bases were loaded with no outs.
A sac fly and two more singles stretched the Pioneers’ lead to 5-0. A runner was thrown out at second and the Jags needed only one more out. That’s when Pinnacle’s Jessica Mabrey smashed a three-run home run just inside the left field foul pole, giving the Pioneers an 8-0 lead.
But the Jags never dropped their heads.
“I had to make them beat me. I had to make them work for it,” Ackerman said.
Desert Ridge gave up two more singles before getting the third out to head to the bottom of the fourth. Alyssa Lyon, Ackerman and Holly Monson all flied out, resulting in another scoreless inning for the Jaguars.
With an eight-run lead heading into the fifth, Ackerman was still determined to get outs, but the Jags gave up four more runs before closing out the inning.
Catcher Sydney Broderick started off the bottom of the fifth with a double, but the next three batters could not bring her in and the team remained shut out.
It was a tough game for Desert Ridge, but Broderick was proud of her starting pitcher.
“I thought Shay did great,” she said. “That’s the best I’ve ever seen her throw her change-up.”
Ackerman also thought that her change-up had improved, but said she needed to hit her spots better when she was up in the count.
“As I get into the count, I have to make it spin more, get it in tight, get it out more,” she said.
Broderick recognized the struggles the team faced.
“We weren’t disciplined at the plate. We are better than that, so we’ve got to be better hitters and go to our zone,” she said.
Both Broderick and Ackerman were impressed with Lyon’s defense at shortstop, but Lyon was more pleased with how the team stayed positive throughout.
“I think we did good staying up, trying to keep fighting to get ahead,” she said.
The Jaguars (11-1) came in undefeated this and will use the loss as a learning experience.
“We were bound to lose at one point in time, but just getting back on the train and working harder tomorrow in practice, just get us better,” Lyon said.
– Goodman is a sports journalism student at Arizona State.