The strength of having a senior pitcher in Kelly McCarty who throws consistent strikes is that it gives the Boulder softball team a chance to compete and stay in games.
The challenge for the Panthers over the past few years has been seeing that through for a full seven innings. Big innings against have been a constant source of frustration for the group and they'll continue to look to curb those crooked-number type frames under new head coach Courtney Geib.
On Saturday against Rampart, the pattern emerged once again. Holding strong through four innings, Boulder couldn't find the ball in the glove at some key times in the fifth and sixth and the Rams took full advantage on their way to a 13-1 non-league win.
A six-run fifth for Rampart (4-0) had just about everything, including a couple of solid base hits. More so, though, there were bleeders and groundballs that had eyes — hits that put pressure on the defense to make plays.
The Rams added four more runs in the sixth, with Abby Konkel's two-run double the big blow.
"I think we learned quite a lot about ourselves today, and we had some young girls out there for the first time that got some good experience," said Geib, whose team fell to 1-1. "We know a few things that we need to work on, and we just need to be ready and, I think, just confident. We're a good team and we just need to see some proof of that and we'll be OK.
"We need to make sure our team is prepared and confident to back Kelly up. I think that's coming soon."
Boulder was looking to build off a 21-0 win against Hinkley, and the Panthers played well out of the gate on Saturday. After giving up a run in the first, BHS tied it up at 1-1 on a Sydney Arthur groundout RBI that scored McCarty. McCarty came back and struck out the RHS side in the second, but Shelby Sheridan countered for Rampart with three straight strikeouts.
A pair of Boulder errors led to two runs for Rampart in the third, but it was still just a 3-1 score in the bottom of the fourth when Boulder squandered a chance to punch some runs home.
Jacey Dawson reached base after a dropped third strike and Maya Colombo Hamilton also reached on an error at first, but Dawson got thrown out trying to go to third base on the play. Fabiola Longoria singled, as well, but the next two Boulder batters struck out with runners at second and third.
Longoria had two hits, but Boulder stranded runners at second base each of the final two innings.
"If we look at those first few innings, I think we did what we needed to do," Geib said. "But it's a mental game, too. You have to work on the mental side just about as much as the physical side of things."
The Panthers will try and get back on track Monday at Greeley Central.
Rampart 14, Boulder 1
At Boulder HS
Rampart102 064 — 13 15 2
Boulder100 000 — 1 3 7
W — Shepherd. L — McCarty.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — 3-1-1-0, Wright 3-0-0-0, Arthur 3-0-0-1, Dawson 2-0-0-0, Hamilton 2-0-0-0, Longoria 3-0-2-0, Caccia 3-0-0-0, Perry 2-0-0-0, Knowles 1-0-0-0, Malmberg 2-0-0-0. Totals 24-1-3-1.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — McCarty 6-15-13-3-1-7.