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Red-hot NH topples Corydon, Clarksville

Red-hot NH topples Corydon, Clarksville
Red-hot NH topples Corydon, Clarksville
North Harrison pitcher Kristen Benz, who fired a no-hitter yesterday against Clarksville, winds up for a pitch last week in a 9-4 victory over rival Corydon Central. Her coach, Ron Mitchell, said of his twirler, 'She was nervous before the game and she even told me so. But she did real good.' (Photo by Alan Stewart)

North Harrison’s softball team made rival Corydon Central pay for every mistake the Lady Panthers made last Thursday in Ramsey, picking up a key Mid-Southern Conference victory, 9-4.
The host Lady Cats, who were coming off a 9-1 setback to Floyd Central the previous afternoon, never trailed as they scored five of their nine runs as a direct result of either an error or a mental miscue by Corydon. With some timely hits and aggressive base-running by his team, North head coach Ron Mitchell was beaming after the game.
‘(We) did pretty good. I’m pretty proud of the girls. I was really aggravated with them yesterday after the way we lost and they knew it. They buckled down when they needed to and did what they needed to do,’ Mitchell said. ‘It helps when you score that early and especially when you are young like we are. It builds for the rest of the game and helps them know that we can score. When you are young and don’t score or if the other team scores, that’s where your older players step up.’
As giddy as Mitchell was about his squad, Corydon coach Kim Briscoe was equally upset with her Lady Panthers.
‘In high school softball, most teams are equally talented and sometimes you beat yourself. We did the same things today like we did against Clarksville, like not catching the ball in the infield, and kicking it around, and doing the things we should do,’ Briscoe said. ‘We had one girl who said she thought maybe the team was just tired. I told them, ‘Girls, we’ve only played five ball games. What are you going to do next week when you have a game every day?’ I guess they are going to have to suck it up and play. Either that or I’ll have to play kids who aren’t tired.’
North struck first in the bottom of the opening frame.
Freshman Kayla Lambert bunted her way on, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Sasha Grangier grounded out to short for the RBI and a 1-0 lead.
The visiting Lady Panthers tied it in the top of the fourth after Brittany Flener singled up the middle with two outs. Megan Fessel also had a base knock, with Jordan Behagg and Jolanna Stiles each drawing walks to drive in Flener. North pitcher Kristen Benz struck out Courtney Cato to end the inning.
The Lady Cats scratched one across in the bottom of the same frame.
Lambert, who stole four bases in the game, reached on a ground ball up the middle, moved to second on an infield single by Grangier, and advanced to third on a groundout by Ashley Sant. Lambert scored when Ashley Eveslage reached on a dropped third-strike.
North plated a pair in the fourth inning.
Brooke Auberry struck out, but reached on a dropped third strike. Sam Hoehn reached on an error, with Auberry winding up at third on the play. North senior Leigha Bowyer came through with a single up the middle to drive in both runs.
Corydon made it a 4-3 affair after posting two runs in the top of the fifth: Flener and Fessel led off with walks and scored on a single by Behagg and a flyout to center by Stiles.
The Lady Cats made sure momentum stayed on their side by scoring three times in the bottom of the inning, and answering a sixth-inning score by Corydon with two runs of their own for the final 9-4 score.
Sant and Sammi Johnson each had RBI singles for North Harrison.
Benz threw five innings, gave up three earned runs, struck out seven and walked six. Freshman Rachel Powers entered the game in the sixth and wowed the crowd by fanning the side in order. She surrendered a pair of infield singles and one run in two innings of work.
‘Kristen, this is the first year she’s really pitched. She pitched some last year, but we’ll use her a lot more this year,’ Mitchell said. ‘She was nervous before the game and she even told me so. But she did real good. If I can get four or five innings from her, then I’m happy. Then Rachel come in and she did real good also. She’s going to be a good pitcher.
‘We’ve never won the conference outright and that’s one of our big goals. Every game we play in conference, we’re going to go at it as hard as we can go. That’s what I want and what the girls want.’
Cato and Stiles took turns pitching for the Lady Panthers. Cato struck out three, with most of the runs she surrendered being unearned due to errors.
‘I thought Cato did a nice job, but the defense let her down I don’t know how many times. The first play of the game we weren’t in bunt coverage and one player wants to know why I’m chewing on her. The girl scored. On a bunt and sloppy play. That’s just not being ready to play. There’s no excuses in that,’ Briscoe said. ‘We’ve got seniors, but I’ve got freshmen and sophomores who are the future of the program and I’m not going to wait for this hold-your-hand stuff out of the upperclassmen. I’ve got kids who are ready to play for the future. I’m not going to fight this kind of stuff.’
North Harrison took a huge jump in the chase for their first outright conference title last night with a 4-1 victory over Clarksville.
Kristen Benz tossed a no-hitter in the affair, with Sammi Johnson doubling, and Ashley Eveslage and Ashley Sant marking three-baggers.
The Lady Cats, who boast of a 3-0 mark in league play and a 9-2 record overall, scored once in the second, once in the third and twice in the seventh.
The Lady Generals (7-2, 2-1) had their lone run come across in the third.
North Harrison travels to Salem tomorrow and South Central on Friday before taking part in the annual Harrison County Tourney at South on Saturday morning.