COLLINSVILLE — The Granite City Warriors had reason to celebrate on Saturday.
Make that two reasons.
After losing their first 13 games, the Warriors picked up their first victories of the season by sweeping the Greenville Comets in a doubleheader on the road. They were also Emily Ashby's first wins as Granite City head softball coach.
"We needed it," Ashby said. "The girls played great Saturday and everything was kind of working for us."
When the Warriors played the Collinsville Kahoks on Tuesday, Ashby was looking to get her first Southwestern Conference win as Granite City coach. But Ashby and the Warriors left the Collinsville Sports Complex empty handed as the Kahoks beat Granite City 16-6 in a game that ended with two outs in the bottom of the fifth due to the 10-run rule.
The Warriors came back from a 5-0 deficit to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the third. But Collinsville rallied with eight runs in the bottom of the third, a run in the fourth and two in the fifth to improve to 8-6 overall and 3-1 in Southwestern Conference play.
"We were down, but we started to come back," Granite City senior shortstop Brittany Morales said. "Errors got us a lot. But it was a good battle. I think we can hang with them next time."
The Warriors dropped to 2-14 overall and 0-4 in Southwestern Conference play.
Granite City has 17 games and a tournament (the Alton Tournament on May 2) remaining in its regular season.
"We've got a young team," Morales said. "I think we can come along with some wins once we get our bats going some more and make those plays."
On Saturday, Granite City beat Greenville 4-2 in the first game and 10-6 in the second. During their 0-13 start, the Warriors lost four games by two runs or less.
"It was so exciting," said Morales, who had two hits in the second game. "We came so close in so many games. We woke up and we got our bats going and our pitching was really well and our plays were made."
On Tuesday, the Warriors gave up 10 or more runs for the eighth time this season. They’ve been outscored 51-8 in their four conference games.
Collinsville pounded out 14 hits and scored in double digits for the second time this season. Senior Sarah Scrum drove in six runs.
"Hats off to them," Ashby said. "They had 1 through 9 (in the lineup) that could hit the ball. They're a great hitting team."
Scrum gave the Kahoks a 4-0 lead with a one-out grand slam in the bottom of the first. She extended the lead to 5-0 after drawing a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the second.
Granite City came back with six runs in the top of the third to take a 6-5 lead. Junior right fielder Mikayla Kingsley gave the Warriors the one-run lead with a two-out, two-run single. She finished with two hits.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Becky Gibbs began the Kahoks’ eight-run rally with a two-run single that gave her team a 7-6 lead.
Granite City freshman Morgan Tanksley was the losing pitcher, giving up 10 hits, striking out five and walking six in three innings of work. She also had two hits.
The Warriors have home games against Althoff on Wednesday and Edwardsville on Thursday and play a road game against Columbia on Friday.
"We're hoping for a good week," Ashby said.
Ashby said she is pleased with the way her team has been playing after the first 16 games.
"We're fighting," Ashby said. "We're a young team and we don't give up. That's what I admire the most about these girls. No matter what, we keep battling. We're up against tough competition, but nothing scares us. We don't back down and that's all I can ask for. We're learning each day. Our motto is 'every day, get better more than the day before' and we're sticking to it."