AUBURN — The Maroons dropped their first game of a weather-delayed season but teased some of the power that should carry them for the rest of the year.
The Auburn softball team fell in its season opener, 12-4, against Liverpool Friday at Herman Avenue Elementary. The Maroons had four players with multi-hit games and posted three triples offensively, but couldn't keep up with the Warriors on the scoreboard.
"The girls came out today and were ready to play," Auburn coach Kelly Horbal said. "We're learning as we go, acclimating with a new team and finally being on a field. It was a tough first game, but the girls never put their heads down. They fought the whole game with positive attitudes and that's what I was anticipating with this group of girls."
Taylor Lansbury led Auburn offensively with a 2-for-3 day, including two runs, two triples and a walk. Abby Marinelli (run, RBI, triple) and Doray DiLallo (double, two RBIs) also had two hits for the Maroons. Emma Nolan and Marley Plish (RBI) knocked in one base hit apiece.
Auburn fell behind early, allowing a pair of runs in both the first and second innings. The Maroons plated one run in their first at-bats, but some miscommunication in the field helped the Warriors to a five-run fourth inning that opened up the game to a 9-1 score.
A handful of times during that fourth inning, some hesitation on defense by Auburn allowed Liverpool to take an extra base that led to runs.
"One time it was just that we all fell asleep, coaches included," Horbal said. "The girls have been taught how to deal with those pressure-type situations, and we're learning how to adjust where we need to and tweak up a few things to be able to defend the way we're capable."
The Maroons scored two runs in the fourth inning and another run in the sixth after consecutive three-baggers by Lansbury and Marinelli, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Still, while four runs is a modest number, Horbal was happy with the at-bats her offense put together and expects the hitting to continue to develop.
"I knew coming into today I wasn't going to worry about our bats," Horbal said. "These girls connect and show their power and strength with all the practice we've done in the cages. They brought all of that today with a lot of hard hit balls. I think this is just the start of what we're going to see."
Auburn has a nice mix of familiar faces along with fresh blood this season — the Maroons lost seven seniors from last year's team, but there's four seniors and four juniors on the current squad.
"I've got a lot of versatility, a good amount of speed and a good amount of power," Horbal said. "The girls that we were able to bring up this year have really demonstrated why they're here, and the returners are still showing why they're a part of the team. It hasn't gone unnoticed."
The Maroons (0-1) are scheduled to play six games next week, starting Monday at Cortland.