The Jefferson Varsity Softball team took to the road to take on the Cuba Wildcats, looking to turn around its slow start to the season. The Blue Jays led the game as late as the sixth inning, but the Wildcats’ late offensive surge was enough to deal the Blue Jays a 9-8 loss.
Jefferson came into Tuesday night’s matchup looking to change its fortunes after suffering six consecutive losses, dropping its record to 5-7. The Blue Jays had sophomore Morgan Figliolo who came into the game with a 2.89 ERA over 9 2/3 innings pitched. Last time out, Figliolo pitched a no-hitter against Herculaneum in a 9-4 win, and she was looking to do the same against Cuba.
Jefferson started the game off with a bang. In the top of the first inning, senior Catryn Cattoor and junior Cami Menke each hit solo home runs (the third home run for each on the season) to give the Blue Jays an early 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats struck back in the bottom of the second to make the score 2-1, but Jefferson’s bats stayed hot in the top of the third. Menke drove in a run on a single to right field, and a fielder’s choice from sophomore Chloe Vaughn led to a run that extended the Blue Jays lead to 4-1.
Cuba added one more run to its tally in the bottom of the third, but the Blue Jays again kept the runs coming in the top of the fourth. With one runner on base, Figliolo got the scoring started with a triple to right field, driving in a run. Figliolo then scored on the next Blue Jays’ at-bat on a sacrifice fly from Maggie Brunke. Then after reaching on a walk, Cattoor scored following a double to left field from Menke.
The Blue Jays now had a commanding 7-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth, but that’s where their luck began to sour. In the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats were able to get one run back, but in the bottom of the fifth, the Wildcats had the highest-scoring inning of the game, hanging four runs on Figliolo to tie the game at 7-7.
Jefferson took back the lead in the top of the sixth inning thanks to an RBI single from Menke, but then gave up two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Down 9-8, the Blue Jays had one last opportunity in the top of the seventh to try and win the game. They started the inning by getting runners on first and second thanks to a pair of walks, but Cuba shut the door by getting three outs in a row to end the game.
Figliolo was tagged with the loss on the night; she pitched six innings giving up nine runs (seven earned), eight hits and five walks while throwing 110 pitches. The loss gives Figliolo a record of 1-1 and increased her ERA to 4.91.
Menke improved upon her strong season, going 4-4 at the plate with a home run and a double while driving in four runs. Menke is now hitting .452 with a slugging percentage of .806 and 16 RBIs.
Cattoor was another bright spot for Jefferson, going 1-1 with a home run while also being walked intentionally her three other trips to the plate. Cattoor leads the team with a .571 batting average, an on-base percentage of .634 and a slugging percentage of 1.229.
Head coach Robert Kuehnle said that the team just got out hit Tuesday night.
“In the end, they just had a couple more hits than us and took the Win,” Kuehnle said.
Allison Cambell and Figliolo contributed some offense as well, with each snagging an extra-base hit, Cambell a double and Figliolo a triple.
The Blue Jays after the loss fell to 5-8 and are now on a seven-game losing streak. They will look to break their losing streak Wednesday night as they take on the Farmington Knights at home.