By Karl Roskamp
With a thunderous crack, pitcher Chelsea Thomas snapped the bat of Carlie Rose in half.
The otherwise routine ground out highlighted senior Thomas’ dominate performance that propelled the Black Team to defeat the Gold Team 5-1 in Missouri’s annual softball Black & Gold Game at University Field.
“That’s a first. I’ve never had a bat break and fly at me,” Thomas said.
Thomas pitched five shutout innings in the scrimmage, before handing off to senior Lindsey Muller, who didn’t give up an earned run in four innings. Thomas allowed three hits and struck out eight, including five swinging. She did show weaknesses though.
In the top of the fifth inning, Thomas walked the Gold Team’s ninth hitter, senior Princess Krebs; Thomas’ only walk of the day.Thomas managed to strike out freshman Taylor Gadbois to end the inning, but coach Ehren Earleywine recognized the potential problem.
“Those are the exact situations during the season that when Chelsea rarely does gets beat, that’s how she does gets beat. She walks someone she shouldn’t and gets into control problems,” he said.
“If Chelsea has a downfall, it is the command of her pitches, but again 45 degrees outside and for five innings, I thought she threw flawless.”
It’s worth noting that Thomas threw a first pitch strike to the first nine batters she faced. After the fast start, which included a two minute first half inning, Thomas threw two first pitch strikes to the next 10 batters she faced. Command aside, Thomas was pleased with her teammates play.
“I was really impressed. We hit the ball well,” she said. “A couple of the girls had a couple good swings off me and as much as I hate to say it, I was very pleasantly surprised by it and happy.”
Fellow starting pitcher Bailey Erwin did not fair as well. She gave up a two-run home run to Muller in the bottom of the second inning and another two-run home run to Alyssa Cousins in the sixth that essentially sealed the game for the Black Team.
“She got hit hard,” Earleywine said. “It further reiterates to me that she’s going to need to develop her change-up.”
Erwin finished with three strikeouts, four earned runs and nine hits allowed in approximately five innings. As a whole though, Earleywine was satisfied with the team’s performance.
“We got 19 hits in nine innings and five or six more that were hit on the barrel, but at somebody,” he said. “So, for this time of the year and this temperature, all things considered, I was pretty pleased with our offensive.”