CLOVERDALE -- To see the final score of Cloverdale softball's 10-1 loss to Speedway Monday night, it seems to have been a very one-sided affair. In the end, though, it wasn't so much a case of one team overwhelming the other with superior talent and preparation; the Sparkplugs just looked to have a bit of mental edge on the Clovers.
"I felt like the score was really one-sided at the end, but we were able to pull off some things along the way that we weren't able to at the beginning of the season," she continued.
The Cloverdale highlight of the evening came in the sixth inning, when Kayla Shepherd sent a grounder to left field that got past the left fielder. Never slowing down, Shepherd got all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
Unfortunately, it was the Clovers' (4-8, 4-5 WCC) only run of the night.
The Sparkplugs jumped on Cloverdale with three runs in the first off three singles and one Cloverdale error and wild pitch.
From there, Sparkplug pitcher Lorian Tharp struck out five of the first seven Clovers she faced.
"They're a good hitting team, but I feel like our team's probably as good as they are. We just weren't able to execute at the plate as well as we have been," Falls commented.
After a couple of good innings out of Cloverdale starter Nicole Mowery, the Sparkplugs struck again in the fourth, scoring two runs on a pair of solo home runs by Lauren Miller and Angela Johnson.
Speedway added a couple of runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh, off a series of Clover errors.
"We missed a tournament this weekend so we haven't had a game since last Thursday. We've had a little bit of a dry spell," Falls said.
"But we're not about making excuses. We're about what we're going to do next," she added. "The girls are supposed to go home tonight and think about how to take it up a notch."
Tharp picked up the win for Speedway, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. She struck out nine in her seven innings of work.
Mowery allowed 10 runs on 10 hits in taking the loss. She struck out four in her seven innings.
While Tharp looked dominant at times, Falls said she believes her team can hit the pitcher, saying they've faced other good pitchers this season.
The Clover bats showed signs of coming alive late. Until the sixth, their only hit had been a first-inning single from Martika Byrd. But Shepherd got her homer in the sixth and Kristen Schroer added a nice double in the seventh.
So, the Clovers showed they could hit Tharp, a trend Falls hopes picks up steam tonight.
"I think we're totally capable of, hopefully, pulling it off tomorrow," the coach concluded.
Cloverdale visits Speedway at 5 p.m. today.
Speedway 300 202 3 -- 10 10 0
Cloverdale 000 001 0 -- 1 3 4
Tharp and Miller; Mowery and Byrd.
WP -- Tharp.
LP -- Mowery.
2B -- Miller, Akers, Angela (Spd), Schroer (Cl).
HR -- Miller, Johnson (Spd), Shepherd (Cl).
Next game -- Cloverdale (4-8, 4-5 WCC) visits Speedway at 5 p.m. today.