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Brownstown trips up Lady Cats in 9th

The North Harrison girls softball team had a chance to clinch the Mid-Southern Conference championship Thursday afternoon in their game against visiting Brownstown, but instead saw the league race get tighter as they dropped a 2-0 decision to the Lady Braves in nine innings.
‘We had several chances but we didn’t make it,’ said North Harrison coach Ron Mitchell. ‘We got girls on first and second, and we had a bunt down at home plate and we didn’t put it down. That’s something we’ve got to do. I’m talking from an experienced player.’
North Harrison had their first chance to score in the bottom of the second when Sasha Grangier and Jenne McConnel rapped singles. The Lady Cats, however, failed to convert leaving the game scoreless.
In the top of the fourth, Brownstown put a runner in scoring position but also failed to get the convert. The Lady Braves did the same thing in the seventh as well as North Harrison pitcher Jessica Kaufman posted back-to-back strikeouts to keep Brownstown off the board. The Lady Cats had another chance in the bottom of the seventh as Ashley Sant walked then stole second, but it went for naught as Sasha Grangier ground out to Brownstown pitcher Jessica Peters.
North Harrison’s best chance to put the game away came in the bottom of the eighth. Brownstown committed an error allowing McConnel to reach first. Kaufman followed with a single for two runners with no outs. Things began to evaporate for the Lady Cats, however, as Brandi Auberry popped out and Kayla Waynescott lined to Peters. Rachel Adams, who was running for McConnel, found herself hung out to dry while trying to advance to third, and the game moved to the ninth.
Elizabeth Kerr started the ninth with a single. With one out, Brittany Wehmiller laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Kerr to second. Peters broke the ice with a single to score Kerr for the first run of the game. North Harrison committed an error with Kara Prewitt batting, allowing Peters to score and the Lady Braves had a 2-0 lead. North Harrison had hopes with the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the inning but went three up and out, handing Brownstown the win.
‘It was enough to manufacture a run and get runners on base,’ said Mitchell of Brownstown’s ninth inning. ‘They were able to manufacture that run to get it in. We didn’t and we have to be better than that. We’re a lot better than that.
‘That one girl that scored a run when we had two outs, we should have had her,’ he said. ‘We didn’t make the play and it cost us. You can’t do that.’
North Harrison finished with four hits but had three errors for the game and left three runners standing. Jessica Kaufman struck out seven Lady Braves and had no walks.
‘I thought Jessica Kaufman pitched a heck of a game,’ Mitchell said. ‘She did an outstanding job … With Jess pitching like that, eight innings without a score, and we can’t manufacture a run, we’re better than that. We just didn’t play that way.’
Brownstown had 3 hits for the nine innings and also left three runners on. Lady Brave pitcher Jessica Peters struck out 3 and walked one.
‘She pitched against us last year,’ Mitchell said. ‘She’s a pretty good little pitcher. They’ve had good pitchers the last couple of years, but we still should have hit the ball. She’s an average pitcher who puts average speed on it. She does have a good drop ball, but we should have been hitting her.’
One thing missing from North Harrison’s game was the big hit.
‘You expect your top four batters in the lineup and you’re in the top of the last inning … you expect to score,’ Mitchell said. ‘You expect to do something, and we didn’t. We didn’t do what we needed to do, and it cost us.’
‘This team came in here ready to play,’ Mitchell said of Brownstown. ‘We did for a little while then we just lost focus. We didn’t get runners on base. If you don’t get runners on base, you can’t manufacture runs and you’re just dead in the water. We had a couple of good hits, but we’ve got to get some runners on base.’
The loss put the Lady Cats at 7-1 in the MSC with one league game remaining.
‘We’ve got Austin Tuesday and hopefully they’ll come out and play,’ Mitchell said.

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