It took a bit for the bats to warm up, but Cumberland made the necessary adjustments at the plate and took down Effingham 10-2 Wednesday afternoon.
The Pirates struck for two runs in the first on a popup by Breanna Booker that fell just inside the foul line, but Hope Collier had them off-balance for much of the game.
Cumberland eventually started timing her changeup better making better contact scoring runs on singles and home runs as opposed to steals and popups.
"Our ability to hit a changeup, that's been a focus for about two weeks now," said Cumberland coach Marnie Blade. "I'm glad to see they're learning to be patient, they don't like being patient."
After the two runs in the first inning, the Pirates grabbed two more in the second when Kyla Thornton had an RBI infield single and Shaina Oakley stole home on a double steal with two outs.
The lead swelled to 5-0 after four on a Booker RBI single in the fourth as the Pirates got the swing of things.
It was a disappointment for Effingham coach Jerry Trigg.
"Hope had to make so many pitches because we didn't make plays early," Trigg said. "They did a good job fighting off the changeup, and we didn't make plays on those changeup hits."
The Flaming Hearts got a run back in the fifth, as Morgan Wilson led off with a double and scored on a double by Shelby Nunamaker.
That was the only run they'd score until the seventh, as Cumberland pushed five across in the sixth on RBI singles by Taylor Layton and Kaylee Carlen, and a three-run home run by Jenna McMechan.
Nunamaker hit a solo home run of her own with two outs in the seventh, but Trigg was not happy with his team's performance.
"We did not come prepared to play," he said. "We needed to be on our game. We thought we could beat them on paper, we've shown signs of playing well. But no, I was disappointed."
Collier gave up 10 runs, two earned, on 11 hits in six innings. Nunamaker and Jenna Wright were each 2-for-3 with a double, with Nunamaker having a homer and both RBIs as well. Collier and Wilson each went 1-for-3.
Kyla Thornton was 3-for-3 with a triple, an RBI and three runs, Layton was 2-for-4 and Carlen was 3-for-4 on the day. Carlen also got the win on the mound, tossing seven innings and striking out eight and giving up six hits.
Effingham is now 3-4 and Cumberland is 4-4, with Effingham hosting Mattoon Saturday for a doubleheader and the Pirates taking on Olney today.
It's been an adjustment process for Cumberland as the season has progressed and they look to keep progressing, Blade said.
"They're coming around," Blade said. "They're working hard, minimizing errors. They're beginning to work around, you work on this side, then you have to come back and work at the plate. It's kind of like a yo-yo.
"As long as the end is where we want it, I don't care."
Effingham 000 010 1 2 6 4
Cumberland 220 105 X 10 11 0
WP - Carlen (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 8 K, 3 BB) LP - Collier (6 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 5 BB)
Effingham: Nunamaker (2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB); Tonn (0-3, BB); Collier (1-3); Wright (2-3, 2B); Rivera (0-1, BB); Wilson (1-3, 2B, R)
Cumberland: Oakley (1-3, 2 R, BB, SB); Thornton (3-3, 3B, RBI, 3 R, BB); Poe (0-3, BB); Layton (2-4, RBI, R); Booker (1-4, RBI, R); Casey (0-3, BB); Carlen (3-4, RBI); McMechan (1-4, HR, 3 RBI, R); Greger (0-3, R, BB)