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North Harrison's Kyia Oppel keeps Floyd Central's Gabbi Jenkins from turning a double into a triple as she makes the tag in the third inning. Photo by Wade Bell

FC puts Lady Cats on ice


April 23, 2014 | 01:20 PM

A cold, east wind blew onto the North Harrison softball field last Wednesday afternoon and the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders brought in a glacier, overpowering the Lady Cats 18-6. It was North Harrison's first loss of the season, after starting 4-0. The Lady Highlanders, meanwhile, improved to 2-2 with the win.

"Finally got the bats going," Floyd Central coach Scott Castleberry said. "We have been stuck inside. We've played against Boonville, rained out, rained out, rained out, played against Columbus East, rained out, rained out, rained out. It's kind of like we've been playing and not getting any rhythm."

The Lady Highlanders have had to deal with a severely damage softball field after serious flooding two weeks ago, with the unplayable field forcing changes in both games and practices.

For North Harrison first-year coach Eric Pavey, the day was frustrating with his team of mostly freshmen and sophomores having to battle through an error-plagued game.

"We just didn't show up the first inning," Pavey said. "We allowed them to get ahead 3-0, then we battled back and showed a lot of heart. By the fifth inning, we're right in the game, 7-5 with two outs. Then, we started creating errors for ourselves."

Floyd Central, who has a tradition of being aggressive with both the bats and base running, quickly got on the board in the first inning. Gabbi Jenkins rapped a first-pitch single and was moved into scoring position by a Maddie Probus single. Jenkins later scored on a Regan Hadley hit.

Taylor McClure followed with an infield single that scored Hadley. With two outs, Taylor Castleberry ripped the team's fifth hit of the inning to score Probus, the Lady Highlanders taking a 3-0 lead.

"It's good to get to see them come out and finally hit the ball instead of hitting off a machine or the coach," Castleberry said. "I was real excited for the way we hit the ball."

North Harrison went three-up-and-out in the bottom of the inning, then the Highlanders put another run on the board in the second. Jensen Striegel and Jenkins both singled, and Hadley then ripped a double, scoring Jenkins for a 4-0 Floyd Central lead.

The Lady Cats finally got some of those runs back in the bottom of the inning. North Harrison started with three straight singles from Kenedy House, Kyia Oppel and Abby Bozynski, with the latter scoring both House and Oppel.

Aspen Luther then grounded out to Floyd Central pitcher Morgan Harper, and Bozynski broke for home from third. A bad throw allowed Bozynski to score, cutting Floyd Central's advantage to 4-3.

"I told them before the game, if we limit our errors and we can hit the ball, we'll stay with Floyd Central and we might have a chance to beat them," Pavey said. "That was the case. We did that for five innings."

In the top of the third inning, Probus parked a shot over the left-field fence with a solo home run to push Floyd Central's lead to 5-3.

North Harrison answered in the bottom of the inning as House launched a solo homer over the centerfield fence, Floyd Central's lead cut to one once again.

Jenkins tried to stretch a double into a triple for the Lady Highlanders to begin the fourth inning, but failed in the effort, with the Lady Cats successfully making both the throw and the tag.

Following a Castleberry walk, Hadley collected two bases on a North Harrison error. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. McClure grounded to second base, with Castleberry and Hadley both scoring on a complicated play to increase the Lady Highlanders' lead to 7-4.

Caroline Cato came in to pitch in the bottom of the fourth for the Lady Highlanders. The Lady Cats had the bases loaded twice in the inning, but they only garnished a single run from the situation, as Alaina Sears scored on a fielder's choice to close the gap to 7-5.

"When they brought in Caroline, we left the bases loaded two times with nothing," Pavey said. "We're 7-5 and we have bases loaded and nothing happens, and then we had the inning with all the errors."

The glacier then came in to flatten the Lady Cats. Floyd Central scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning as North Harrison struggled with three errors. The Lady Highlanders also had five hits in the at-bat to take a 13-5 lead.

The Lady Cats loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but managed just a single run when Kodi House scored on a passed ball.

Neither team scored in the sixth, but in the top of the seventh the Lady Highlanders had their second biggest inning of the day, as they tallied five runs. Floyd Central mashed the ball with four doubles in the at-bat for five runs and an 18-6 lead.

Cato struck out three of North Harrison's four batters in the bottom of the inning as the Lady Highlanders got the win.

"Give them credit for hitting the ball, but I think it was more of us creating errors than it was being on top of their game," Pavey said. "It sort of poured out. It was just a little bit of an avalanche there. One led into two, two led into three errors, four. We just need to be better than that. We were right there, then we created errors for ourselves and we weren't in the ballgame."

Floyd Central finished with 21 hits for the day, Probus getting five, with a home run and two doubles. Jenkins had three hits, with two doubles, and Hadley had two singles and a double. Taylor Batliner had two singles for the Lady Highlanders.

From the pitching circle, Harper had two strikeouts and a walk for Floyd Central, and Cato finished with five strikeouts and six walks. Floyd Central had four errors.

North Harrison finished with six hits, with House getting two, including the home run. The Lady Cats used three pitchers who combined for no strikeouts and two walks. North Harrison committed five errors.

"When you put up six runs on those two pitchers, I think you're doing well," Pavey said. "I think we did well hitting the ball. Caroline Cato and Morgan Harper are very good pitchers and they have a lot of speed and work their pitches well. I think Caroline had a little trouble coming in off the bench at first. She threw some balls. As far as our girls seeing the ball, I don't think our girls had any issue with it."

For North Harrison, with only one of its three seniors having considerable varsity time, it's a matter of cutting down on errors and improving its mentality of the game and learning to win.

"When you go up against a talented squad like Floyd Central, whose got a lot of upperclassmen, and we're young and we're staying right with them, we just don't have that mentality to get over the hump yet. Once we develop that mentality, that they can play with anybody, which we can, I think we'll be fine."

Floyd Central 311 260 5 18 21 4

North Harrison 031 110 0 6 6 5

W Cato (2-0), L Rudolph (4-1).

2B Hadley (FC), Jenkins (FC) 2, Probus (FC) 2, King (FC), Sheen (FC), Castelberry (FC); HR Probus (FC), House (NH).

Twitter: @TheManiacHiker

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