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Softball: Offense struggles during 0-3 start

Third baseman Makayla Newberry watches as a bunt rolls toward the foul line during last Thursday's home game against Lakeville North.

As Monday's game against Apple Valley played out, Rosemount softball coach Tiffany Rose talked with one of her assistant coaches.

The Irish held a 1-0 lead at the time and Rose's message was simple.

"One run is not going to win in this conference," Rose said.

Unfortunately for Rosemount, Rose was correct.

The Irish lost their third straight game Monday, dropping to 0-3 on the season with a 3-1 loss at Apple Valley. Rosemount also lost 4-0 to Lakeville North late last week.

With the pitching distance moved back, an increase in offense is expected. Efficient scoring is going to be even more crucial and the Irish have had trouble scoring early this season.

"More offense is what they were looking for," Rose said. "Even last year, I would say in our conference you have to score more than one run to win. The pitching hasn't been as dominant. There are good pitchers but not what we've had in the past. One run doesn't do it in the South Suburban Conference. I also think that a pitcher needs runs. If you put four to five runs on the board it gives the pitcher and defense a little more to play with, helps them be more relaxed."

Rosemount's pitching and defense hasn't had the opportunity to relax. Along with a stymied offense, the defense has struggled.

The Irish committed six errors against Apple Valley. Two errors in the fourth inning led to the Eagles tying the game.

Rachel Hoeppner pitched a complete game, allowing two hits and one walk. All of the runs were unearned and she had four strikeouts.

Rosemount scored in the second inning when Ally Baker singled to score Melissa Seldon. Paige Cero had two hits. Baker had a single, RBI, stolen base and sacrifice bunt.

"I'm a firm believer we need to be scoring more runs," Rose said.

The offense couldn't get on track on a cold, windy day last week against Lakeville North. Seldon had the Irish's only two hits.

Hoeppner gave up six hits and four runs, two of which were earned, and struck out five.

"I think she's doing a good job," Rose said. "We missed some routine ground balls and missed some pop flies. You want ground balls and that's what she's giving us. She walked one. We're just not giving her runs."

Rosemount hosts Eden Prairie today and Lakeville South on Monday.