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SOFTBALL: Cedar Crest bats stay silent

Someday soon, when the Cedar Crest softball team is scoring runs in bunches and reaching its full potential, it will look back on all of this and have a good laugh.

But right now, it's pretty darn frustrating.

The Falcons' early-season offensive struggles continued on Friday in a 2-0 loss to Garden Spot in a Section One-Two crossover matchup at Cedar Crest Middle School.

Held to five singles and struck out 13 times by Spartans ace Taylor Martin, Cedar Crest fell to 1-4 overall and in Section One and saw its run total for 2015 remain stuck at just six through the first five games. The Falcons have been shut out in three of those games.

It all began promisingly enough, with Anna Debellis and Maddie Gable opening the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles, but the Falcons would end up running themselves out of the inning with some bad baserunning and didn't really seriously threaten again.

"We're just having trouble getting out of that slump," said Cedar Crest coach Eric Edwards of his underclassmen-heavy squad. "Once we finally break it loose here and get some timely hits and get some confidence at the plate, I think we'll be able to build on that. But right now, we're really struggling to get things going offensively."

Martin didn't help matters, expertly changing speeds throughout and getting tougher as the game went on, as evidenced by the eight strikeouts she racked up in the last three innings.

After the first-inning rally died, the closest Cedar Crest came to generating some offense was in the third when Debellis and Gable again reached base back-to-back, this time with two outs.

But Martin induced a pop-up by Molly Finley on the first pitch to escape the jam and continue the Falcons' frustrations.

"She threw really well," Edwards said of Martin. "She had a good change-up, and we were, of course, diving at it and helping her out with that. And we were swinging at pitches out of the zone and watching a lot of good pitches go by. But give her credit, she's a solid pitcher."

Gable, to her credit, was almost as good en route to another hard-luck defeat. The Falcons' ace righthander also allowed only five hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.

And both runs Gable surrendered were aided by a costly throwing error in the fourth that came after Martin led off the frame with a triple.

"That's kind of been the story of our season," Edwards said. "(Gable) has thrown well every game we've played so far, but we have one, two or three errors that cost us runs. Our record doesn't really do her justice as to how she's actually pitched. Without that one error, we're probably still playing."

In general, though, the Falcons played well defensively, with the highlight being left fielder Alexis Tonini's sliding catch of a Martin pop fly in the first.

But as long as the bats stay silent, Cedar Crest's positive attributes will be at least partially obscured.

"Just knowing that we're young, I figured we'd take our lumps a little bit," Edwards said. "Offensively, we see production in practice, we just need to change our approach at the plate. It's not anything fundamental, I believe. I think it's more our approach and confidence at the plate. That's where we're at."

Garden Spot 2, Cedar Crest 0

Garden Spot0002000—251Cedar Crest0000000—052

W — Martin; L — Gable;

SO-BB — GS: Martin (7 IP, 13 K, 1 BB), CC: Gable (7 IP, 6 K, 0 BB);

2B — GS: Foor;

3B — GS: Martin;