EVART \u2014 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. \u201cWe hit much better the second game,\u201d said Evart assistant coach Amanda Brown, filling in for coach Cheryl Speet, who was attending her daughter\u2019s graduation program at Ferris. \u201cThe defense was a lot better tonight. We had our first double play of the season. \u201cWe had a couple of line drives caught. The defense was so much better. Errors were down big time.\u201d Conkin is a freshman starter for Evart. \u201cThe pitching and knowing the game a lot more,\u201d 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. \u201cI was very nervous about it but was happy too,\u201d 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. \u201cIt\u2019s important to get a good release,\u201d she said. At the plate Conklin is hoping to hit .300. \u201cYou have to get your timing down,\u201d she said. Evart is at Beal City on Friday in Highland Conference action. \u201cWe\u2019re a lot better than we when we started the season,\u201d Conklin said.