EVART — Defense and hitting picked up in the late stages in the non-league twinbill for the Evart softball team on Friday, but the Wildcats lost 17-0 and 19-6 to Vestaburg.

Savannah Ross was the losing pitcher of the first game while Felicia Nelson had a single.

Ashley Burhans was the losing pitcher of the second game. She went all six innings and struck out six. Deanna Conklin had two doubles while Livia Hopkins added a triple.

Burhans and Ross had a single. Cyana Dellar had two doubles and Ciera Campbell had a double.

“We hit much better the second game,” said Evart assistant coach Amanda Brown, filling in for coach Cheryl Speet, who was attending her daughter’s graduation program at Ferris. “The defense was a lot better tonight. We had our first double play of the season.

“We had a couple of line drives caught. The defense was so much better. Errors were down big time.”

Conkin is a freshman starter for Evart.

“The pitching and knowing the game a lot more,” is what Conklin said has been the biggest adjustment to the varsity level. She found out she would be on the varsity during preseason tryouts.

“I was very nervous about it but was happy too,” she said.

Conklin said second is her best position but she also catches.

Her throwdowns are her strength. She threw out two players on Friday.

“It’s important to get a good release,” she said.

At the plate Conklin is hoping to hit .300.

“You have to get your timing down,” she said.

Evart is at Beal City on Friday in Highland Conference action.

“We’re a lot better than we when we started the season,” Conklin said.