TURLOCK — Michelle Osmer hopes the Buhach Colony softball team can come out of its tailspin before it's too late.
The Thunder coach watched as the offense struggled and routine plays became difficult as Pitman cruised to a 6-0 win at Pitman High on Tuesday afternoon.
"We've just been out of sync for a couple weeks now," Osmer said. "We've having trouble getting our groove back."
The Thunder gave away runs.
Pitman's Alexis Mettler stole a run in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Sarah Ward showed bunt at the plate to draw in Buhach Colony third baseman Jennifer Moreno. Mettler then broke to steal third base. Thunder catcher Kerstin Smith threw to third, but nobody was covering and Mettler came around to score as the throw went into left field.
Buhach Colony made errors on back-to-back bunt plays in the third inning to help the Pride score two of their three runs in the inning to extend the lead to 4-0.
"Nothing was routine for us," Osmer said."
By then the damage was done.
Mettler shut down the Thunder bats, limiting Buhach Colony to just four hits on her way to nine strikeouts.
It's the same pitcher the Thunder racked up 13 hits against earlier this season.
"It's hard to put a finger on," Osmer said. "We can't string together hits like we could in the beginning. We're too timid up there. We're thinking too much on defense. We just have to go out and play."
The Thunder (11-11-1 overall, 8-5 Central California Conference) now find themselves in third place, just one game ahead of Pitman (14-11, 7-6) after losing four of their last seven games.
With Golden Valley and Turlock left on the Pride schedule, Buhach Colony will likely have to win its final two games against Turlock and Atwater to earn a playoff berth.
"It's crucial we go out wanting to win these next two games," Osmer said. "We'll see how we do under the most pressure we've had this season."
Merced 12, Turlock 1
Ruby Quiralte hit a home run and drove in three runs as the Bears (12-1 CCC) clinched the outright CCC title.
Atwater 9, Golden Valley 1
Aliyah Ricks collected two hits and scored three runs as the Falcons (9-4 CCC) took over sole possession of second place in the CCC with two games left.
Chowchilla 1, Washington Union 0
EASTON -- Cassidy Vlot struck out 15 on her way to a two-hit shutout to propel the Redskins to a win.
Dos Palos 35, Avenal 0
DOS PALOS -- Efrain Del Rio homered and drove in six runs for the Broncos (6-1 West Sierra League).
Pleasant Grove 7, Merced 2
The Eagles won five of the six singles matches to knock the Bears out out of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.