Fundamental miscues costly for Conifer in loss to Evergreen

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By Chelsy Woods Klein

A broken bat and broken hearts were all that the Conifer Lady Lobos’ softball team left with after being defeated by the Evergreen Lady Cougars, 6-3, on Sept. 22 at Evegreen High School.
“We didn’t execute,” Conifer head coach Carrie Oletski said. “We had chances where we should have dropped a bunt and we couldn’t drop a bunt. We had runners on second with two outs and we didn’t go on the hit, so we didn’t score. It was all of the things that we have been working on (in practice) that just didn’t come together.”
Evergreen had Conifer backed into a corner by maintaining its strong outfield while cutting the Lady Lobos off at the neck when trying to play small ball.
Batter after batter for Conifer attempted to bunt, but Evergreen senior pitcher Morgan Milstead knew what to expect after a while and made sure that she was ready to scoop and toss.
Evergreen (8-7, 2-1 4A Jeffco) took the lead in the first inning, scoring three runs off of four batters. Meanwhile, Conifer had had two opportunities to bag runs with bases-loaded plays, but one turned into a force out at home.
Conifer (6-8, 1-2) has always been a fighting team. It does not go down without a fight, and Evergreen interim head coach Brian Doctor knew that coming into the game.
“Carrie (Oletski) is a great coach and this is a good team. We knew that we were going to have to bring our best game if we wanted to win,” Doctor said.
Evergreen brought hitters who could execute plays and fielders who were ready to work together to keep the bases clear.
But Conifer was able to sneak a few runners in. The Lady Lobos’ first run came in the fourth inning on a balk by Milstead. Then in the fifth inning, Conifer freshman Delaney Kellenaeres chopped a bunt that brought in two runs, tying the score at 3-3. But those runs only served as a battle cry to Evergreen.
With runners on second and third in the fifth inning, Evergreen sophomore catcher Sarah Kay cracked a tie-breaking triple before she scored herself off of a hit by junior Ragan Wickham to push the Lady Cougars ahead 6-3.
The final blow to Conifer’s game came in perhaps the most symbolic of occurrences in the seventh inning. With one out, Delaney stepped up to the plate prepared to hit whatever was thrown her way to get on base and give her team a chance for a comeback. And hit she did, but the combination of force and curve behind the ball, along with the angle of the swing proved to be too much for the poor bat to take and it snapped in two. Delaney got thrown out at first.