LONGMONT — The Skyline softball team was unable to make contact and generate some offense in a 2-0 loss to Sterling on Saturday at Skyline High School.
The Falcons (0-2, 0-2 Northern Conference) finished with only three hits and five baserunners in the game, and only one of those baserunners came with fewer than two outs in an inning.
Skyline also failed to put down a single bunt, something that helped them beat Sterling last season.
“Certain girls are not used to bunting,” Falcons pitcher Kaiti Albers said.
“The confidence will come and the bunts will start to get down. We also have a lot of power hitters, and they’ll come around.”
The hits weren’t there against Sterling, and that was especially disappointing for Falcons coach Jim Gerk. The team had taken three days of batting practice prior to the game, the most he has ever conducted in a week.
“I couldn’t tell what kind of team Sterling had because we didn’t make them do anything,” Gerk said. “We get hits with nobody on base.”
On the other side of the diamond, the Tigers had an equally hard time putting hits together, but a run in the first inning gave them the lead they would need to improve to 2-0 in the Northern Conference.
The Falcons’ only runner with fewer than two outs was Angela Gilbreath, who reached base two of three times to the plate. Her first time up, she drew the Falcons’ only walk of the day, and her next time up she hit an infield single.
She led off the fourth inning with a slap single to Sterling short stop Darcy Giacomini and moved to second on a fielder’s choice.
Skyline’s scoring threat ended there, though, as Tigers pitcher Megan Debus struck out the next two batters to retire the side. Debus had 11 strike outs.
The Tigers scored first when Debus reached first on an infield single. A sacrifice bunt moved her to second, then Callie Scalva pushed her home with a bloop fly to left field.
Skyline’s Albers closed down the Sterling offense from that point. She did not allow another hit, but a misplayed a fly ball in the sixth inning scored Sterling’s final run.
Tigers catcher Sarah Sullivan hit a deep fly to center field. Skyline center fielder Alicia Zamora and left fielder Elizabeth Daly collided and dropped the ball, allowing Sullivan to score on the play.
“All of it was a lack of communication,” Albers said. “The majority of the girls really trust each other. We’re just breaking ourselves back into it.”
The Falcons fought for a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Alyssia Aguilar, who had struggled at the plate with two strike outs, reached base on a misplayed ball at shortstop. Albers, who went 2-for-3, hit a clutch single that found the gap between first and second base.
Both runners advanced a base to get in scoring position on Sterling throws.
Debus, unflustered by the pressure, did what she had done all day. She struck out Caitlin Hoglund to end the game.
Skyline’s two league losses will make the remainder of the season a tough climb. Although composed largely of juniors, Gerk expected his players to surprise other teams.
“It’s only going to get harder,” he said. “We should be off and running. People should be overlooking us, and we should be beating them.”