KEOTA — Despie an 0-10 record, the Keota softball team is having fun playing ball and improving.
The Eagles dropped a 9-1 decision to HLV Wednesday. It was the second game this year that went to seven innings.
“This game was a little bit different than others because the girls were really into it,” Keota coach Dewey Purkeypile said. “I was very proud of them.”
Down 9-1 with two outs in the last inning, the Eagles are still battling.
Taylor Garman knocked out her second hit of the game, then tried to score on Taylor Kindred’s hit but was thrown out at home to and the game.
“Me being new, I’m thinking let’s keep this momentum going and ride that emotional high that we are on right now, so I sent her home,” Purkeypile said. “Down eight runs, I shouldn’t have done that. That was a good throw they made to home to get her.”
The outfield was kicking the ball around and bobbled it.
“They were bobbling it for half an hour,” Purkeypile said. “If I hadn’t sent her, they would still be bobbling it. The good thing is she is listening, she heard what I said and she committed without question, which is amazing. That’s what I want from the girls. We are going to make mistakes. I want the mistakes to be on me not on them.”
The HLV catcher was obstructing the base path and Garman had just started to slide but was stopped quickly.
“It scared me the way she slid into home,” Purkeypile said. “We sure don’t need any more injuries. She is a trooper.”
Keota’s Callie McNurlen took a cleat to the arm in a game last week that required seven stitches, but she will have those removed soon.
“She is doing good,” Purkeypile said.
Jill Schulte hit a double in the first inning. Keota scored in the third when Mackenzie Jackson and Macie McDonald had consecutive hits to score Alexia Purkeypile, who had walked.
“It was a good night at the plate because we got some hits from some people that have been struggling,” the coach said. “Garman is fantastic at putting the ball in play.”
After the visitors scored six runs in the first two innings, pitcher McDonald settled in and faced either four or five batters in each of the last five innings.
“She is just an eighth grader and did a fantastic job of pitching,” Coach Purkeypile said. “I thought it was amazing. She is a rock for us.”
Purkeypile said it was a pleasure to see his team engaged the whole game. “This was a fun game to be in. We are working on getting better. We are getting closer. The kids were into it. For me, that’s when it’s a good game, when everybody is into it and they’re all hollering. They were being a little goofy but they were having fun, so I’m gonna let that go. It helps keep the emotion up.”
A brief hail storm caused the game to start late.
“That was sure a different thing for us,” Purkeypile said. “It was interesting and the first time I dealt with that, so I’m learning all sorts of stuff this year. We are having fun and we need to get better, obviously, but we are going to keep working. I want to learn just like they do. It was exciting.”
Keota plays at North Mahaska Friday.