Lanesville bound for first-ever state final
Nearly 30 years to the day that Lanesville celebrated a regional championship in baseball, the girls softball team won its first regional title and became only the second team from Harrison County to advance to a state final.
The Lady Eagles trimmed Hauser, 2-1, Saturday night in front of a large, raucous crowd tilted heavily in favor of the home team.
With fireworks exploding in the sky and Lanesvillians making their way to their front porches to welcome their regional champions, a slow-moving parade (led by the Lady Eagles riding atop Franklin Township fire trucks) made its way through town after the game. A brief bash ‘ highlighted by the champions singing, ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ ‘ was held in the high school gymnasium.
Powered by the arm and bat of junior pitcher Allison Horton, who struck out 31 batters and went 5-6 at the plate in the two-game regional, No. 4-ranked Lanesville now advances to Friday’s state final at Hamilton Southeastern High School on the northeast side of Indianapolis.
They’ll face No. 1-ranked Clinton Prairie ‘ a team that has known nothing but success the past several years. The Gophers have won five consecutive sectional championships and a regional and the state crown in 2002. Clinton Praiorie has lost to the eventual state champions in the regional final in each of the last two seasons.
Whoever wins the contest advances to the title game at 11:30 on Saturday morning, facing the winner of the scrum between North Daviess (26-4) and Pioneer (15-9).
In the regional title affair, Lanesville drew first blood in the bottom of the second inning.
Junior Leeann Wolfe reached on a bloop single to right, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Erin Harbeson. With two outs and a 2-2 count, freshman Ashley Royalty came through in a big way with a hot shot up the middle to drive in Wolfe.
‘She had been hitting the ball hard for the past few games, but right to people,’ Lanesville coach Kayla Straub said. ‘I told her before she got up that she was due to hit the ball in the hole, and that was as great a time as any to come through with that hit. That was a huge hit.’
Senior Brittany Mix singled to left to put runners at first and second; however, Hauser pitcher Audrey Wilkerson got Leslie Kaufer to ground out to end the inning.
Horton kept the Lady Jets at bay until the top of the fourth.
Wilkerson drew a two-out walk and was plated when junior Laura Nading blasted a shot down the left field line. The kabosh went for a triple and knotted the contest at 1-1.
Lanesville scored the game-winner in the bottom of the next inning.
With one out, Kaufer walked. Wilkerson struck out Beth Dorgay and looked like she might get out of the inning, but Horton connected for a RBI double to the gap in right-center.
She tried to stretch it into a triple, but a pair of perfect relay throws and a tag at third by Hauser ended the inning.
Horton retired six of the next seven batters to end the game.
‘They’ve got heart,’ Straub said. ‘I knew they would come through. They knew they were going to win that game.’
For the regional, she gave up just two hits, two walks, fanned 31, and surrendered just one earned run (only her fourth of the season).
‘That’s just typical Allison,’ Straub noted. ‘She pitched awesome. Her defense was behind her today and we didn’t have any errors out there today.’
To get to the title game, Horton tossed a no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over Springs Valley.
The only run the Lady Eagles needed came in the opening frame when Kaufer walked, moved to second on a passed ball, went to third on a single by Horton, and scored on a wild pitch.
Lanesville blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth.
Kaufer led off with a walk and stole second. Then, with one out, Horton hit a single, moving Kaufer to third. Horton charged toward second and Valley attempted to pick her off, but the throw sailed into right field, allowing Kaufer to come across.
Sophomore Christina Adkins singled in Horton to set the final score.
The Lady Hawks’ best chance to get in the game came in the fifth, when Samantha Campbell reached on an error, was sacrificed to second by Jennifer Lowe and trotted to third on a wild pitch.
Horton got out of the jam by striking out Erica Bledsoe, and then went on to retire five of the next six batters via strikeouts.
Horton struck out 11 batters through the first four innings.
GAME NOTES ‘ Clinton Prairie’s last loss came on April 9 to Andrean (a Class 3A team) in the LaVille Tournament; Lanesville’s only two losses of the season were to Class 4A New Albany in the opening game of the year and to Class 2A Crawford County in the final tilt of the regular season; Gophers’ senior catcher Janette Burgin was the team’s leading hitter going into the regional, hitting .506, with six home runs and 42 RBI. senior pitcher Alex Castle is hitting .462 with 12 RBIs and 22 stolen bases, and seniors Ivy Wright and Kathy Seager are hitting .358 and .345; Castle is a strong twirler, sporting an ERA of .72, giving up 15 earned runs in 145 innings pitched. She’s also struck out 112 batters; Lanesville’s Allison Horton has only surrendered four earned runs this season in 147 innings pitched. She’s given up 35 hits, 13 walks and has struck out a whopping 275 batters while sporting an ERA of .24; Coach Straub’s alma mater, Corydon Central, became the first school from Harrison Co. to advance to a state final, when the girls basketball team advanced earlier this year, in March. ‘It’s awesome that they did it and now we’re doing it. Southern Indiana sports are really hot right now,’ Straub said. ‘People from Corydon even came to watch us tonight. That’s just too awesome.’