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Lady Cats overcome nerves, win opener

North Harrison head coach Ron Mitchell said no matter how many sectional tournaments someone’s been too, it’s always exciting.
Excitement turned to nerves Monday.
The Lady Cats’ overcame nerves, heat and excitement to topple Scottsburg, 7-2, in the first round game of the Class 3A Corydon Central sectional Monday.
Lady Cat junior Kayla Waynescott and sophomore Jessica Kaufman combined to toss a no-hitter, but not without nervous excitement taking a toll on both.
After retiring the first 12 Warriorettes in succession, Waynescott ran into some trouble in the fifth inning. Scottsburg (1-20) loaded the bases on a pair of errors, a walk and few wild pitches to start the inning. Waynescott then dropped to her knees in the circle after getting the first out. Overcome with heat, Waynescott left the game and Kaufman entered to relieve her exhausted teammate.
‘She just got hot,’ Mitchell said. ‘I could tell when she got to bat the last time, she was getting pretty hot. She was beet red in the face. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re hot.’
With a five run cushion, Kaufman entered to get North Harrison out of the jam. After a walk, the sophomore induced a strikeout and a ground-out, escaping the inning with minor damage, yielding two runs on wild pitches.
After the inning, Kaufman then hyperventilated in the dugout according to Mitchell.
‘When Jess came back (to the dugout), I thought she was going down,’ Mitchell said.
With freshman Courtney Crone loosening in the bullpen, Kaufman was able to regroup and finish out the game. Waynescott and Kaufman each finished with four strikeouts each, combining on the no-hitter.
Helping calm North Harrison’s nerves, the Lady Cats were able to put five runs on the board early. Sophomore Kayla Lambert led off the game with a bunt single. She stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Samantha Johnson hit an RBI double in the first inning as well, plating Ashley Sant.
Two Warriorette errors and singles by Sasha Grangier and Sant in the second inning helped North Harrison push their lead to 5-0, roughing up Scottsburg’s Tia Deaton.
‘When you get out on top quick it helps your nerves,’ Mitchell said. ‘Kayla was a nervous wreck before she threw the first pitch.’
Deaton was relieved after two for Kara Helton, who proved to be troublesome for the Lady Cats with her steady diet of off-speed pitches.
‘She was pitching slower and we weren’t waiting on it,’ Mitchell said. ‘We were coming up underneath the ball.’
She retired nine Lady Cat hitters in a row before Jennesy McConnell put an end to her run. The junior belted a solo home run to lead of the seventh over the left-center field fence.
‘She cranked that ball out of here,’ Mitchell said. ‘It was sweet. The ball looks like a pumpkin to her right now.’
McConnell sprinted around the bases when she hit the homer. It was the first fence-clearing home run North Harrison has hit this year.
North advanced to play Madison (6-16) yesterday. Mitchell said the opening game was key to his team’s nerves. For the sophomores, it was their first sectional win in any sport.