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Lady Cats’ true grit shows in title victory

Lady Cats’ true grit shows in title victory
Lady Cats’ true grit shows in title victory
Silver Creek senior catcher Lauren Beyl prepares to try to make a tag on Ashley Smith of North Harrison in the bottom of the sixth inning of Monday night's championship game of the Class 3A Salem Sectional. Beyl dropped the ball on the play and Smith scored the eventual game-winning run.

Powerful storms that ravaged the Southern Indiana area last week swelled a nearby creek at the newly-renovated softball field at Salem High School on Thursday night. Most of the infield dirt was washed away, the outfield fence was completely laid over and bleachers floated around like toy boats (one set wound up in the outfield).
That left the remainder of the Class 3A Salem Sectional to be played at Eastern on Monday evening.
The change of venue didn’t seem to bother North Harrison, which defeated Silver Creek in the championship game on Monday night, 2-1.
It was the Lady Cats’ first sectional championship since winning a Class 2A title in 1999 at Charlestown.
North advances to Saturday’s Jasper Regional and will face No. 3-ranked Boonville in the first game at 11 a.m. fast time. The sectional winner at Edgewood battles Gibson Southern at around 1 p.m., with the championship slated for 7 p.m.
Tickets are $5 per session or $7 for a season pass. Times are subject to change.

N.H. 2, Silver Creek 1

Silver Creek ‘ a team that outside of the battery starts an entire field of underclassmen ‘ played much better than their 6-19 record indicated in Monday night’s championship game of the Class 3A Salem Sectional at Eastern (Pekin) High School.
The Lady Dragons punched a run across in the top of the third and held North Harrison without a run until the bottom of the fifth inning. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, North took the lead for good.
North’s first run came after Whitney Wetzel reached on an error on an attempted bunt with one out. She went to second on a fielder’s choice and scored on a ground ball up the middle by Renee Sullivan.
In the next inning, Brandi Pirtle was given a leadoff walk and junior Ashley Smith came in to pinch run. Ashley Davis sacrificed Smith to second with a bunt, which was followed by a nice defensive play by Silver Creek catcher Lauren Beyl, who dove into the backstop fencing to snare a pop-up by Ashley Sant.
Charissa Brooks came through big for the Lady Cats by knocking a RBI single to center that was just past the outstretched glove of Silver Creek shortstop Jessica Stemle. The throw to the plate from freshman centerfielder Samantha Shepard was on the money, however Beyl dropped the ball as Smith slid into home.
North Harrison senior twirler Kristina Lambert, who finished the game with 13 strikeouts, personally retired the side with a groundout and a diving catch and throw to first for a double play.
‘Kristina pitched a good game. She played good defense, pitched good. My seniors stepped up just like I needed them to. I couldn’t be any more proud of them,’ Lady Cat first-year coach Ron Mitchell said.
‘The other night when we played (Madison), I told the girls I wanted the game over in five innings and I wouldn’t expect anything less from them and that’s what I got. Today I knew was going to be a tough game because we’d already beaten (Silver Creek) 9-0 earlier in the year. They weren’t quite focused like I wanted them to be when they got off the bus and I had to give them a little bit of a butt-chewing.’
Offensively for North, Wetzel reached base all three times she stepped to the plate and Sullivan singled twice.
Silver Creek’s score came in the third frame when Paige Dean, one of two seniors on Silver Creek’s team, singled to lead off the inning. Lambert fanned the next two batters on strikeouts to bring up Stemle. The sophomore singled on a bloop hit and then the other senior on the squad ‘ Beyl ‘ had a two-out RBI hit to drive in Dean.
‘If you look at our record, you’d think that we don’t belong in the championship game. But if you look at our youth and our injuries and what it took to get here, it shows these girls have a lot of heart,’ Silver Creek coach Dave Harvey said. ‘North Harrison was in a dogfight and they know it. We struck out 13 times, but we made (Lambert) work for them. The young kids made her work and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
‘We’d love to be on that side holding the trophy. But this is the first time since 1998 that we’ve made it to a sectional championship game. We did it with 10 kids today and they came out and did it with a lot of heart.’

N.H. 10, Madison 0

In a rain-delayed game that took three days to complete, the Lady Cats blasted error-prone Madison, 10-0.
North Harrison senior pitcher Kristina Lambert recorded her 11th shutout of the season.
North led 3-0 and had the bases loaded with none out when rain and lightning postponed the game on Tuesday evening. When play resumed on Thursday night, Madison got out of the jam by retiring the next three batters.
The Lady Cats pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fourth after Whitney Wetzel reached on an error and came across on a two-out single by Beth Bruner.
Bruner went on to provide the knockout blow in the fifth after another batch of Lady Cub errors.
Ashley Davis singled, moved to second when Ashley Sant reached on an error and then went to third on a walk issued to Charissa Brooks. Shayne Rhoads reached on the second error of the inning to score Davis. Wetzel flew out to right before Lambert was plunked by Madison’s Melissa Pflug to score Sant.
After Renee Sullivan popped out to first on a nice play by Lady Cub Tyler Toliver, it looked as if Madison was about to get out of its second bases-loaded pickle.
That’s when Bruner crushed a line drive over Melissa Warner’s head in right field for a double. Brooks, Rhoads and Lambert all came across as Bruner gave thumbs up to her coach from second base.
‘Big hit,’ Lady Cat coach Ron Mitchell said of Bruner’s double. ‘She had a couple of huge hits, but that was really big.’
Brandi Pirtle dribbled one down the first base line that was misplayed by Toliver. The strange-looking play had everyone looking at first base. Bruner crossed the plate nearly undetected by the defense to give North its 10-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Lambert struck out Warner before giving up a seeing-eye single to Amber Smith. The base knock mattered little as Kristen Mahoney and Stephanie Peak were both retired on weak infield outs.
‘It’s hard for teams to score one run on us, much less 10, so I was pretty confident that Kristina was going to get the job done. When you’ve got her out there pitching and then she has a great glove in the infield, there’s not much that’s going to get through the infield,’ Mitchell said.
‘Offensively we just wanted to be aggressive right off the bat. I don’t like to be down at the beginning of a game and we tried to run every chance we could. We got some key hits and that helped, too.’

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