|Wed, Jul 23, 2014 06:00 PM
April 09, 2014 | 10:10 AM
On a day of plenty of debuts, North Harrison rallied from a one-run deficit in the eighth inning to defeat visiting Borden, 4-3, last Wednesday.
One of the fresh faces, Kyia Oppel, hit a two-out line drive to left field that was misplayed by the Borden left fielder in the eighth. The error allowed courtesy runner Laken Coughenour to score, but a second error, on the throw to home plate, provided the winning run. Not-so-new face Kenedy House slid across home plate to ensure an opening season victory for the Lady Cats.
"The kids came through when we needed it," North Harrison first-year coach Eric Pavey said. "It was a good, overall team win."
It was a battle between pitchers and defense through the first five innings on a frosty evening in Ramsey. Although it was the debut for North Harrison, the contest was the third for Borden, which entered at 2-0 for the season.
North Harrison's Kenedy House celebrates at third base after belting an RBI triple in the sixth inning. The senior fouled off plenty of pitches in the at-bat before landing the big hit.
Lady Braves twirler Paige Schindler was stellar at times. During eight innings, she struck out 13 while walking five.
"(She's an) outstanding pitcher," Pavey said. "She's only a freshman and will get better. She had 18 strike outs against West Washington, so we knew coming in she was a power pitcher. We started to get some hits at the end."
Nine of the 10 batters Schindler saw the first time through the order were retired. The lone bright spot early for North Harrison was freshman Abby Bozynski who got a hold of a ball in the second inning. With two outs, Bozynski laced a double then stole second base but was left stranded.
Pavey was impressed with his pitcher as well. Brittany Randolph, a sophomore, went the distance for the win, striking out five.
"Eight innings is strong for any pitcher to go," Pavey said. "She faced a team that has at-bats so far. I think she'll surprise some teams this year because she's learned a couple extra pitches. She doesn't have the speed the opposing pitcher had today, but her movement is something I really like."
Randolph effectively worked out of a jam in the eighth inning. She yielded a Paige Schindler double to start followed by an RBI single by Taylor Streander. Following a walk and a sac bunt, Rudolph struck out one then forced a ground out to end the threat.
Facing a one-run deficit in the extra inning, Rudolph started a two-out rally. She smoked a double to the right centerfield fence, setting the table for House. Drawing a walk, House reached first base, bringing up Oppel.
Oppel's hard-hit ball to left hit the grass after hitting the glove of the fielder, leading to the game-winning run.
"Brittany hits a good double to start a trend," Pavey said. "Her playing last year as a freshman, she didn't mind being in that moment."
Both teams failed to score in the opening five innings. In the sixth, each notched two runs.
For the Lady Braves, McKency Terflinger had an RBI single that was followed by Makenzie Smith drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Shaking off the base-on-balls, Rudolph struck out a batter followed by forcing Carrie Farvour to ground out.
Bouncing back in the bottom of the sixth, Kaylin Bright led the frame with a walk.
Then excitement came at the plate. House had an extended battle with Paige Schindler. With an 0-2 count, House began fouling ball after ball. The initial allotment of balls within the umpire's bag disappeared to the middle school's roof behind the backstop.
Play had to be halted briefly to fetch additional balls from the team's shed.
Once the right ball found House's bat, she blistered the leather to the center-field fence, plating Bright. House eventually came home on a wild pitch to knot the game at 2.
"Seemed like 20 pitches she saw," Pavey said. "Being a senior and leader she is, she showed the catalyst she can be at the plate for us. ... It got the crowd into the game. It was a great at-bat."
Each team went down in order in the seventh, prompting the extra-inning battle.
Defense was strong for the Lady Cats as well with left fielder freshman Kodi House making a pair of outs on the run. Her older sister, Kenedy, started a double play, along with second baseman Alaina Sears, also a freshman, making a diving stop and throw from her knees for an out in the fifth inning.
"We played solid, especially defensively," Pavey said. "I only saw a few mental errors on some signals, but I'm proud of the heart they showed."
Despite the cold weather, Pavey was pleased with the victory.
"I think Borden having two games under its belt, they seemed a little more ready," he said. "It took us a few innings to get warmed up with the weather. The heart of our team is a positive I came away from this game with."
The Lady Cats will return to action tonight (Wednesday) at Springs Valley, followed by a trip tomorrow to Clarksville. They will return home Friday to face West Washington.
Borden 000 002 01 – 3 7 3
North Harrison 000 002 02 – 4 3 1
W – Rudolph, L – P. Schindler.
2B – McKinley (B), Rudolph (NH), Bozynski (NH); 3B – Ke. House (NH).