FINDLAY - It's one of the things someone says to you and it stops you in your train of thought because the statement was out of left field.
At one of my previous newspaper stops, Mohawk softball coach Jenny Weinandy would call in her softball box score and at that paper, we put in the line score: runs, hits and errors.
She read me the score by innings for each team, gave the total hits for each team and then came my question.
"Coach, how many errors did you have," I asked.
"Offensive or defensive," she asked in reply.
For a guy who grew up idolizing baseball, I knew there was only one answer: "Defensive, coach."
I chuckled about it at the time and chalked it up to Jenny using her own coach speak. But that conversation happened every time she called in her scores.
Ten years later, I realize that all that time, she was serious.
Simply put, an error is defined by any play allows a batter or baserunner to reach one or more additional bases when that advancement would have been prevented by ordinary effort. Clearly the definition applies to defensive plays.
Wednesday night in Mohawk's regional semifinal contest against Fremont St. Joe, I saw what she meant by offensive errors and how a team can avoid them.
In the top of the third inning, St. Joe had runners on second and third with one out. Be Reardon was at the plate and she smacked a pitch back to the mound. Kasey Adelsperger snagged it, looked the runner back to third and threw to Ashley Cooper at first for the easy out. Cooper trotted toward third a few steps and threatened to throw out Brigette Fulwider, who was dancing off third base a bit. Instead, she wheeled and fired to second baseman Molli Cartwright, catching Kristin Sessler leading too far off second, ending the Streaks' threat and preserving a 5-0 lead.
Cooper said those plays come from lots of practice and communication from her teammates.
"In practice, we spend the majority of our time doing defensive work," Cooper said. "That's the main part of the game. You have to be strong defensively to keep the game going. That play was all my teammates because I was focused on getting the out at first and my teammates were saying 'two, two, two.' I threw it to second and I'd say it's on my team for that one."
In Weinandy's mind, offensive errors are avoided when a baserunner is smart on the base path or lays down a bunt when needed or delivers a hit when called upon to pinch hit, as Brooke Weininger did in the sixth inning.
"Baserunning is huge. I want the girls to want to get to next base so bad. They need to be in the game and know what the count is on the batter. They need to know how many outs there are, (and) if there's a fly ball if they are tagging. There's so much to know about baserunning, it's almost a week of practice in itself," Weinandy said. "Offensive errors would be (not) having confidence, so when we need a bunt, we need to get it down. We need to make contact and put it in play. If we don't do that, to me that's an offensive error."
While Mohawk had two errors on defense, it seemingly had none on offense as the Warriors had 17 hits against St. Joe, magically finding the places the Crimson Streaks weren't.
And this time of year, that's exactly what Weinandy wants to see.
"Now, I'm more worried when tournament times come around about our batting because the defense should know what it's doing by now," she said.
So while the errors category will still be reserved for defensive plays, I finally understand what a great coach has been imparting to her teams for nearly a decade and a half now.
There's defensive errors and there's mental errors offensively.
And while only one will show up on a stat sheet, avoiding both will help a team show up in another column.
The win column.
Aaron Korte is a sports writer for the Advertiser-Tribune.