SOUTH CHINA — The rain eventually stopped Tuesday afternoon at Erskine Academy, but the bad beats kept pouring on for the Eagles’ softball team.

Erskine fell behind early, then things went from bad to worse when it lost starting catcher and No. 3 hitter Taylor McLaggan to an injury. The home team did not recover from there and fell to Ellsworth 9-2 in their Eastern B prelim contest.

“If you can’t execute at the plate then you’re going to have trouble, but then you take Taylor out of the equation and I think that’s just startling,” Erskine coach Holly Tripp said. “It was a blow for their morale. They got back later, though. They turned it back on, so we’re proud of that.”

Erskine fell behind 2-0 through the first three innings Tuesday after giving up a run in the first without having a ball make it past the pitcher and an unearned tally in the top of the third. Execution errors in the bottom of the second cost Erskine at the offensive end, as the home team twice failed to get a sacrifice bunt down after Ellsworth starter Mariah Brown walked the first two batters of the inning. Brown then got Faith Krause to ground out to third to end the threat.

The most costly blow for Erskine, though, came in the bottom of the third. Avery Bond started a potential rally with a one out single to right and advanced to second on a fielding error.

A single from McLaggan put runners on the corners, and on a 2-2 pitch to Kaitlyn Sutter, Erskine’s sophomore catcher attempted to steal second. The offering from Brown was outside, but Ellsworth catcher Callie Hammer delivered a strike to shortstop Emily Berry to catch McLaggan — who suffered a lower arm injury on the slide — stealing.

“It’s broken,” Tripp said. “She very clearly broke probably her radius.”

Both teams went to their respective dugouts and after a 10- to 15-minute delay play resumed, but it took Erskine some time to recover.

“It’s mentally hard to get back into it after that,” Tripp said. “(McLaggan is) the toughest kid I’ve ever met.

“…When you see someone that tough get hurt, that’s hard to see.”

Sutter popped out to first to end the inning, and from there Ellsworth went to work. The visitors scored two runs on three hits in the fourth and batted around in the order in the fifth en route to four more runs to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Erskine finally found its footing in the final two innings with one run each in both the sixth and seventh innings, but by that point the visitors had built too formidable of an advantage.

“If I lost my catcher we’d be in the same boat. It’s tough,” Ellsworth coach Rick Roberts said. “That’s almost as bad as losing your starting pitcher. You hate to see it and it probably changed the game quite a bit.”

Amber Grady had two hits and a run scored for Erskine, while Sutter had a double and a run scored. Mallory Chamberlain and MacKenzie Sawyer each had RBIs, while Bond went 3-for-4 with a trio of singles.

Brown went five innings, allowed no runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts to pick up the win in the circle for Ellsworth. Lead-off hitter Leah Stevens led a 17-hit charge for the visitors with four hits and three runs scored. Abby Lynch had three hits — including a pair of doubles — in the victory.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley