Perry softball makes strides against Carlisle in debut

Sean Cordy
Correspondent

Perry softball (0-1) opened its season with a 7-2 loss to Carlisle (1-0) on Monday. While it marked the fourth straight season-opener loss, the Jayettes showed improvement against the reigning conference champs.

Shaking off the rust

It took some time for Perry to settle in, particularly at the plate against last year's saves leader Lexxi Link.

Through three innings, the Jayettes were simply looking to make contact as Link struck out three batters in the first, two in the second and two in the third inning.

After Link threw her eight strikeouts, Jayna Kenney snapped the cold streak for Perry's first base of the season. Two batters later, Kennedy Tunink doubled to drive Kenney home.

Macy Killmer waits for the pitch on Monday, May 24 during a home game against Carlisle.

Back at the top of the order in the sixth inning, Lydia Olejniczak also doubled for her first hit and crossed home plate by Macy Killmer.

"I was impressed with the way that our kids came out," head coach Tina Lutterman said. "We didn't play scared we played aggressively, and we tried to make some adjustments to what they were bringing."

Brighter start

While it is only one game and Carlisle lost a bulk of its starters, there was a staggering difference at play compared to last year's 14-0 loss to the Wildcats.

Even considering Carlisle's shifted roster, the Wildcats routinely appear in the state tournament and haven't had a losing season since 2008. Entering Monday, Carlisle had won by an average of nine runs against Perry in the previous five meetings.

"Just having new batters that maybe hadn't seen Jayna pitch before [helped]," Lutterman said. "Trying to keep them off balance with some of the pitches she was throwing."

Kenney left the game with only two strikeouts. But even with a low K-count, Carlisle's bats didn't pop the same compared to previous outings, largely keeping balls in play for Perry's damage control defense.

Jayna Kenney on the mound for the Jayettes on Monday, May 24 during a home game against Carlisle.

All about perspective

To fans and Lutterman's dismay, there were a handful of crucial calls that went in Carlisle's favor including a safe call at home plate that the umpire said catcher Peyton Tunink bobbled the ball while tagging the runner out.

Lutterman ultimately didn't appeal the call, not out of fear or agreement but as a reluctant strategy.

"When I do try to challenge an umpire and ask for a ruling, we get some strikes that Peyton's like, 'I don't know why that's not a strike.' So I have to fight my battles," Lutterman said. "After 12 years of being here has taught me that, it'll just come back to get you it's not worth what happens in the long run."

Up Next

Perry travels to Boone (1-0) on Thursday. With the conference's three-time reigning home run leader, the Toreadors won 10-3 against the Jayettes last season.

Perry's Lydia Olejniczak gets set to a tag a Carlisle runner on Monday, May 24.