PASADENA â€” The wave of momentum that the Flintridge Prep softball team was riding has most assuredly subsided.
After winning their first seven Prep League games, the Rebels have found their offense struggling and their defense floundering to the tune of two straight league setbacks, including Thursday afternoon's 3-2 road loss to Mayfield at Brookside Park.
â€œIt's been the bounce of the ball for us these last two games,â€ said Flintridge Prep Coach Julie Jaime, whose team lost on a walk-off single by Mayfield's Alissa Costello on Thursday. â€œIt's just momentum and they were able to piece it together and we weren't.â€
Prep (11-5, 7-2 in league) managed seven hits â€” three with two outs and three in a two-run fifth. The Rebels have scored just three combined runs in Thursday's affair and Friday's 2-1 loss at Westridge, when they had scored seven or more in every other league contest.
â€œHitting had been our strength and we haven't been hitting like we were,â€ Jaime said. â€œWe're definitely not doing what we were, we're not stringing together the hits.â€
Fielding was ultimately the Rebels' undoing, though. They had just two errors â€” the last leading to defeat â€” but it was two miscues in the third that led to Mayfield (12-7, 7-3 in league) taking a 2-0 lead.
After a Mayfield double, the subsequent Flintridge Prep relay in was miscommunicated and the throw was off-line, allowing the first run to score. Then Costello chopped a ball down the third-base line that looked as if it was going foul. The Rebels catcher fielded it and threw late to first, allowing a second run to score.
Prep, which had left Emma Vine stranded at third after a first-inning triple and two more runners stranded in the second and fourth innings, rallied to tie the game in the fifth.
Courtesy runner Sidney Golombeck â€” running for Kate Beck, who went three for three â€” scored on a two-out Alina Khodadian single to right. The right fielder misplayed the ball and allowed Khodadian to motor all the way to third. Kari Van Horn then clutched up with another single to tie the game.
Flintridge Prep put two runners on in the sixth, but a controversial call erased the threat. Kelsey Merchant, moved up to second on a Beck single, but stumbled over second base and appeared to put her foot back on the bag before a tag was applied. The umpire didn't see it that way, though.
Rebels starter Lydia Kay, who went the distance, allowing seven hits, striking out five and walking three, wiggled free of a one-out jam in the fifth. After a line-drive single took Kay's glove with it, Kay induced an infield fly and notched a strikeout to quell the threat.
After a perfect sixth, she walked the leadoff batter in the seventh and walked another with two outs. She followed by inducing a routine grounder to second, but the play was botched, loading the bases and leading to Costello's game-winner.
â€œWe're 7-2 [in league] and that's where we stand,â€ said Jaime, whose team has clinched its first playoff berth since 2005 and has three league games remaining. â€œIf we can take care of business, we'll be fine.â€