Meadville had 10 hits while Grove City had three.

But there are other ways to get on base. And that’s what cost the Lady Bulldogs during a 7-6 loss to Region 5 opponent Grove City on Thursday at the Fairground Fields.

“Lots of walks,” said Meadville head coach Addie Lipps. “You can’t have walks in fastpitch.”

The Eagles (4-11, 2-5 Region 5) took advantage of 13 free passes in the ballgame.

Of their three hits, shortstop Aubrey McCoy singled and scored in the third inning, catcher Macaela King had a two-run double to the left-field corner in the third, and right fielder Anna Bell had a lead-off single in the fourth that died on base.

The rest of the offense was on balls. Grove City scored two runs in the first inning on three walks and a Meadville error. It added four runs on three walks and two hits in the fourth. And the seventh run, scored in the sixth inning, began with a walk and ended with a wild pitch.

“They were smart at the plate,” said Grove City coach Katie Calano. “They were very smart at the plate. They swung at strikes only. And they let the ones that weren’t worth swinging at go by.”

Still, the Bulldogs nearly fought their way into the lead.

The ’Dogs tied it up at 2 in the second inning. Taylor Nottingham and Katie Newman slugged back-to-back singles to load the bases. Then Destinee Seher drew an RBI walk. And Haley Mott was hit by a pitch, forcing in the tying run.

Meadville added two more runs in the third to cut Grove City’s lead to 6-4. Megan Alexander reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by Newman. And Alex Smith singled and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Seher.

In the seventh inning, Meadville nearly pulled off the comeback. Mott led it off with a bunt-single, getting the benefit of a bang-bang call at first. Billee Myers followed with a single. And Courtney Woods came just feet away from tying the game up, rocking a double to deep center field that fell just short of the fence, scoring Mott and making it a 7-5 game.

Alexander added an RBI single to center field to drive in Meadville’s sixth run. But that’s where the rally would stall.  

“The girls are battling,” said Lipps. “They’ve battled from the beginning. They just seem to enjoy being down the first couple innings. They come back and they end up battling through it. They do always put up a good fight. But you win some you lose some. We’re due to win.”

The loss puts Meadville at 0-12 on the season and 0-6 in the Region 5. The Bulldogs will have plenty of opportunities to get the monkey off their backs with six games scheduled for the next week, including a home doubleheader against Rocky Grove on Saturday, a road game at Villa Maria on Monday, a home game versus Hickory on Tuesday, and then a doubleheader against Franklin on Thursday.

“Their spirits are high,” said Lipps. “We have no practice (today). We’ve got a lot of games ahead of us, a lot of doubleheaders. We’ve got to get our pitching ready. But they’re doing all right. They’re going to get refreshed (today) and be ready to go.”

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