By GREG MENGELT
After opening the season with a 25-4 win over Jeffersontown (Ky.), Providence dropped its first decision of the season, 6-3 to Sacred Heart (Ky.) on Wednesday.
The Pioneers gave up four runs in the fourth inning but scored the next three runs to pull within 4-3 after six innings.
Providence coach Sean Payne said he scheduled the Kentucky-powerhouse Valkyries (9-3) early in the season to see where he team stands. Despite the loss, he liked what he saw.
“We wanted to give the team an early test and see where we were,” Payne explained. “Actually, I’m very pleased where we are.”
Lillian Hughes went 2 for 3 with a pair of runs knocked in to help the Pioneers get back into the game. Marlee Karem was also 2 for 3 and Meredith Endris had a double for Providence’s lone extra-base hit.
“In the past, we would have collapsed after giving up four runs,” Payne said.
On Saturday, Providence scored 10 times in the first inning and 11 in the second en route to the 21-run triumph in its opener.
The Pioneers scored 25 runs on 28 at-bats.
Lillian Hughes had three hits, three runs, three RBIs and a triple in the victory. Jacquie Hornung was 3 for 3 with three runs and a pair driven home. Sierra Collett picked up the victory in the pitching circle.
“We had a great game from our whole team,” Payne said. “We got a lot of players playing time although it was only three innings. Although we faced an outmatched opponent, we made all the plays you expect a great team to make. [Our] reserves did a good job in final two innings, as well.”