KINGMAN - The bats began connecting in the bottom of the fifth, but it was too late for Kingman Academy. Flagstaff used five-run fourth and fifth innings to put the distance between it and the Lady Tigers for a 10-run mercy-rule win Tuesday at Centennial Park, 14-4.
"We come out and play well for three or four innings but then lose it mentally," said KAHS softball coach Tim Pena. "We have just got to get better."
It was the second consecutive loss by the mercy rule, and the Lady Tigers are beating themselves. Flagstaff's 10 runs over the last two innings came off of five singles, but walks, errors and hit batters gave the Eagles enough fuel to keep scoring.
"It's just those things we do at every practice," Pena said. "It's not the physical things, it's the mental things. We have got to remain tough not for just three or four innings, but for an entire seven innings."
Trailing Flagstaff (3-2 Division II) entering the bottom of the fifth 14-1, freshman Kassidy Campbell turned on the Eagles' Taya Mortenson's changeup and launched a shot into deep left-field. Had there been fastpitch fences, Campbell's blast would have easily gone over a 220-foot barrier. Instead, Campbell cruised around the bases for an inside-the-park home run and the Academy's second run of the game.
"She went outside and it curved in," Campbell said. "We were looking for those outside pitches and her changeup."
After Campbell's home run, the Academy (3-3 D-III, 2-1 Section II) went on a tear with singles by Jillian Winters, Kylie Tomlinson and Jessica Plew, and a triple by Dakota Parker for two more runs. One more run would have extended the game, but the Lady Tigers fell short.
"I felt like it picked us up," Campbell said about her home run. "We were working hard all game, but I felt that gave us a confidence boost and we started hitting better."
Parker had two hits, scored twice and drove in one. Plew also collected a couple of hits for the Lady Tigers.
"A lot of good things are happening," Pena said. "We just need to tighten up those mental things. We are going to keep fighting."
Academy faced Estrella Foothills (4-3, 1-2) in section action Wednesday at Centennial Park. Results were not available by deadline. The Lady Tigers host Bagdad (4-1) at 4 p.m. Friday on Field 1 at Southside Park.