Lesson from Petaluma: Walks are win killers, most of the time

Posted by: PD correspondent Dewey Forget

St. Vincent defeated Clear Lake 9-8 Tuesday. Not completely unexpected. After all, the Mustangs are the defending North Central League I – South softball champs and this was their league opener against the Cardinals.

It was, however, an unusual game in several respects. First, St. Vincent’s starter Kelsey Joyce walked seven batters, hit three and threw three wild pitches, leading to six runs. The Mustangs also gave up a couple of unearned runs, one on a throw to second that eluded centerfielder Ashley Patton and rolled for ever, allowing Kaila Sterbank to score all the way from first. Patton was covering the bag because the Mustangs had the corners in tight anticipating a bunt. Patton also recorded a putout at second.

Giving up seven walks and still winning got me to thinking about the old baseball-softball axiom that walks will come back to haunt you. So, I took a closer look at the last 11 games I’ve covered. In those games, pitchers issued 61 walks and 28 of those runners scored. But, here is an even more telling stat. Of 43 walks issued with less than two outs, 24 scored, that’s about 55 percent.