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Slugfest goes Corydon’s way

Slugfest goes Corydon’s way
Slugfest goes Corydon’s way
North Harrison outfielder Jennesy McConnell brings the ball to the infield after Corydon Central loaded the bases early in the game. (Photo by Brian Smith)

It was an old-fashioned slugfest at Crawford County last Wednesday between a pair of county rivals.
A combined 24 hits later, Corydon Central was able to maintain an early lead and outlast rival North Harrison to end the Lady Cats season with a 6-3 win in the Class 3A softball sectional semi-final.
Hits and runs had been hard to come by for Corydon Central in recent games, but Wednesday, the bats came back to life early.
In the bottom of the first, the Lady Panthers put two runners on early with singles from Shelby Short and Josey Kintner. Courtney Thieneman delivered with a double to the left-field fence, plating the first run of the game. The Lady Panthers would load the bases in the inning, but North Harrison pitcher Jessica Kaufman was able to induce a ground-out to end a possible big inning.
‘Very important to get on the board first,’ Lady Panthers coach Kim Briscoe said. ‘It boosted our moral. We’re a great defensive team. But when you aren’t hitting, well, it can make your defense not do so well.’
The bats were only warming up in the first inning. In the second, Jolanna Stiles and Savanah Cesar started the frame with doubles, scoring one run. The shots to the fence were followed by a Short infield single. Cesar and Short later scored on Kaufman wild pitches. Two batters later, Kintner hit a double of her own, but was stranded at third. The awoken Corydon Central bats put them up 4-0 after two.
‘We’ve been trying to do that for five games now,’ Briscoe said. ‘I think our bats are back. We worked really hard in practice on technique.’
North Harrison didn’t allow the Lady Panthers to get comfortable for very long. With one out, North Harrison strung together five consecutive singles off Lady Panther twirler Jenna Keinsley.
Mary Robertson’s single scored North Harrison’s first run when she plated Sasha Grangier. Robertson was followed by Kayla Waynescott’s single that scored Kayla Lambert, splitting the Lady Panthers’ lead in half, 4-2. North Harrison didn’t add any more runs in the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
Both pitchers settled in for a few innings until Keinsley gave up an RBI triple to Jennesy McConnell in the fifth. The shot to center field scored Brooke Auberry and pulled North Harrison to within one at 4-3.
In the final innings, North Harrison was unable to add to its score, while Corydon Central added a pair of insurance runs, one in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Keinsley struck out seven to pick up the win, her 22nd on the season. Kaufman took the loss in 5.1 innings of work, striking out four.
‘You can’t take anything away from that North Harrison team,’ Briscoe said. ‘They are a good ball club that does a lot of things right. They just didn’t out-hit us today. I thought their pitcher did a nice job today, but she was hanging some pitches and we wanted to hit today. But we did the same thing in the early innings, hung some pitches and they got us.’
Briscoe was pleased with the bounce back at the plate after struggling in the previous five games.
‘Jolanna Stiles has struggled so bad at times,’ Briscoe said. ‘Yeah, for her, she had the winning hit in the Mid-Southern Conference game that won it for us, and she comes out here today as the No. 8 hitter and she tears the cover off the ball.’
The senior finished with two hits and one RBI. Short had a three-hit day as well.
North Harrison and Corydon Central entered the sectional as the favorites, both being 20-game winners. The Lady Cats end the season with a 20-6 mark.