Lady Cats click on all cylinders at Providence Tourney
Offer any softball coach a team with good pitching versus a team with a strong offense and most will choose arms over bats. In Saturday’s four-team Providence Tournament, North Harrison proved it had both.
The Lady Cats humbled last year’s 2A sectional champion Corydon Central 10-5 before steamrolling last year’s sectional runner-up Crawford County in the final, 10-0, behind a no-hit, 10-strikeout performance by sophomore rightie Kristina Lambert.
North junior hurler Samantha Powers whiffed only three Lady Panther batters in the first game but gave up just three earned runs in her win.
In the championship, only two Crawford players reached first — Amanda Benson and Kim Presley both benefited from North Harrison errors. Benson and Brittany Lutz hit the only two balls to the outfield, both lazy flies caught by the sure-handed Lady Cats.
“Lambert’s got really good control. I was really shocked that New Albany got to her last week like they did, but she came out and got into a groove against Crawford and did a really good job for us,” said North coach Barry Geltmaker. “Coming into Saturday, I thought we’d hit the ball, but I didn’t think we’d hit it that well. We had teams before where we’d get runners on and just leave them out there. We took advantage of everyone’s errors and just had solid hits all day long.”
After two scoreless innings to start the game, North posted a pair of runs in the top of the third. Brooks and Kim McMillin reached on errors and Liz Geltmaker drove both home with a double. In the fourth, Billie Mitchell walked and Beth Bruner singled before Brooks marked two RBI with a base knock. The Lady Cats added another pair in the fifth as Geltmaker was walked by Rikki Beaver, who then plunked Lambert on the pitching elbow. Four batters later, Brooks roped one through the legs of Lady Pack shortstop Bianca Haverstock and marked two more RBI.
North Harrison blew the game open in the sixth as McMillin, Jessica Franken (singles) and Geltmaker (RBI triple) all reached safely and Lambert walked. Bruner had a two-RBI single as well to put Crawford down, 10-0.
Lambert fanned two of the three Lady Pack batters in the bottom of the sixth to end the game via the mercy rule.
Providence 4, Corydon 1
The first five innings of the consolation game of the Providence Tournament was a stereotypical pitching duel between Corydon Central’s Alisha Mosier and Providence’s Abby Zollman. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, the error bug reared its ugly head late in the game to hand the hosts the victory.
Through five frames, Mosier had given up one unearned run and only one hit. In the bottom of the sixth, however, Providence’s Brittany Freiberger had a bunt single and Courtney Freiberger and Zollman both reached on an error. Sarah Rose Hornung had a sacrifice RBI, Jessica Donner singled, and Selene Hennessey marked a RBI single to plate the fourth and final run of the game for the Lady Pioneers.
Corydon had just three outs to rally and actually brought the game-tying run to the plate before bowing out of the frey.
Dana Beaven scored once and had a bloop single for Corydon, Katie Crecelius had two hits with an RBI, Lindsey Beaven had a single and Susan Yates singled in the fifth to round out Corydon’s five base knocks in the game.
Providence, which finished with four hits, was led by a 1-3 afternoon by Brittany Freiberger, who also scored two runs.
Crawford Co. 9, Providence 8
When all was said and done, the team that stopped making errors first was the team that win the opening game of the tournament.
That team was Crawford County.
The Lady Pack bounced back from four early miscues to upend the hosts in a mild upset, 9-8. Crawford senior pitcher Rikki Beaver threw four innings to start the contest with Melinda Grote coming through in the final three frames to seal the win.
The Lady Pack’s miscues allowed four Providence runs.
Crawford came back, however, with a four-run fourth inning that turned out to be the pivotal point in the game.
To that point, the squad was trailing 6-5.
Grote walked and Tori Beaver singled to right to bring Bianca Haverstock to the plate. The sophomore hit a frozen rope that nicked off the glove of Providence shortstop Courtney Freiberger to drive in Grote. Katie Kaiser grounded out to the pitcher, but marked the sacrifice RBI. Rikki Beaver had a long fly to left that was misplayed by Peggy Labor, allowing Tori Beaver and Haverstock to score and Beaver to end up on third base. The senior pitcher eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Providence tried to put together a rally in the bottom of the fifth when Sara Rose Hornung and Jessica Donner were both plated, but that’s as close as the Lady Pioneers got the rest of the way as Grote was backed up with some nice defense around the diamond.
Haverstock scored twice with a double, Kaiser had a sacrifice and an RBI, Rikki Beaver had the hot bat with a two-run inside-the-park home run, an RBI single and three runs scored, Benson walked once and scored a run, Lutz had a RBI single, Jessica Cox was 1-3 with a single, Grote walked once and scored and Tori Beaver was 2-3 with two singles.
North Harrison 10, Corydon 5
The Lady Cats made mince meat of Corydon Central in the semifinal thanks to five extra-base hits and a quintet of errors by the Lady Panthers.
Billie Mitchell had two doubles and Ashley Wachtel one for North Harrison, which also got three-baggers from Liz Geltmaker and slugger Beth Bruner.
Corydon Central posted a trio of runs in the bottom of the first as freshman Dana Beaven reached on an error, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. Katie Crecelius singled and the crafty pitcher, Sam Mathews, smacked a RBI triple to left field. She was brought in on a sacrifice ground out by Jenna Lillpop.
North scored one run in the second — when Mitchell walked and Bruner connected for a RBI triple to left — and took the lead for good in the third inning with a four spot: Jessica Franken singled to left and Geltmaker hit a seed down the left field line for an RBI triple. Lambert reached on an error to bring in Geltmaker and Mitchell brought Lambert in with a double to right center. Bruner capped the scoring in the inning with a bloop RBI single for the 5-3 lead.
The Lady Panthers posted single runs in the sixth and seventh frames but came up short in the end, 10-5.
“The girls were really thrilled after the game,” Geltmaker said. “I don’t know if we knew we could beat them that easily, but beating Corydon is definitely something we can build on. Mathews did strike out a few and she might have just had a bad day, but we hit the ball hard against her, which kind of surprised me.”
For North Harrison, Franken was 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored, Geltmaker had two runs and a pair of RBI, Lambert scored twice, Mitchell was 2-3 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and an RBI, Bruner was 3-4 with two runs batted in and Whitney Wetzel scored once with a base knock.
The Lady Panthers were paced by the 2-3 day by Mathews, who scored once and had an RBI. Dana Beaven scored twice and had a triple and Lindsey Beaven was 2-3.
“Both games we hit the ball pretty well, but we didn’t find the holes. North Harrison was hitting really well, it was just one bad inning,” Corydon coach Joseph Oakes said. “With this being such a deep field, you get a lot of bases unearned. If it rolls, it rolls forever. I think there were five total triples in the first game and you rarely see triples in fast-pitch softball.”
“This is early, but I think we could really do something if we keep getting better,” Geltmaker said. “Our goal is to try and win conference first and then try to win sectional. I really think Corydon is still going to be the team to beat in the sectional, though.