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McAfee, NH bats blank Austin, 14-0

McAfee, NH bats blank Austin, 14-0
McAfee, NH bats blank Austin, 14-0
North Harrison’s Tabby Bozynski connects for a triple in the 10-run second inning Thursday for the Lady Cats against Austin. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Thursday afternoon provided smiles and sunshine at the softball field at North Harrison.
The bright sun, with its rare sighting the previous weeks causing many rain-outs, and a 14-0 win over Mid-Southern Conference-foe Austin led to the smiles.
‘Tonight, we gave good effort and were focused,’ North Harrison coach John Lambert said. ‘In the last three weeks, we’ve played three games. I’m really proud how they handled themselves tonight and, hopefully, it will carry over to the final two weeks. With the confidence growing, we can get rolling toward the sectional.’
The win over the visiting Lady Eagles not only featured 11 hits, but a five-inning no-hitter twirled by Alyssa McAfee.
The right-hander allowed walks in the second and third innings but ended up inducing a pair of double plays from each.
During the course of the season, the Lady Cats have split the pitching duties between McAfee (4-3) and Miranda Whelan (3-1).
‘They have been real effective,’ Lambert said of the pair. ‘When they walk out on the mound, they know, unless it gets way out of hand, they are going to stay out there through thick and thin and battle.’
The team had momentum from the week before, rallying to defeat New Albany 8-5.
‘The New Albany game last Friday was big. We were down 5-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, and we score seven runs and end up winning the game 8-5,’ Lambert said. ‘The team is finding an identity. Even through the rain, we are sticking together and continue to practice well.’
Six days later, the Lady Cats continued to hit the ball hard, this time against Austin.
McAfee opened the bottom of the first inning with a double, while singles from Whelan and Brooke Lamon were executed.
North Harrison’s 2-0 lead after the first inning ballooned to 12-0 after the second.
A combination of hits, walks and two Austin errors led to the barrage of runs. Brittni Sears had two singles and scored both times in the frame. Also scoring twice in the inning were Bri Lampton and Tabby Bozynski. Bozynski had a base-clearing triple to make the game 11-0.
Kennedy House, Kendra Lambert, Whelan and Lampton also contributed with RBIs.
‘We went through a stretch where we just didn’t hit the ball,’ John Lambert said. ‘We were making contact but just weren’t driving it. Against New Albany for one inning, and tonight, I thought we did a nice job adjusting to pitches. Hopefully, it will lead to bigger and better things for the rest of the year.’
Whelan added her third hit of the game in the third inning on a bunt single. She would later score the game’s final run on a wild pitch.
North Harrison finished the game with 11 hits, while Austin committed six errors.
McAfee closed the game with four strikeouts while not allowing a hit.
‘Defensively, we have two freshmen (Kennedy House and Kendra Lambert) up the middle,’ Lambert said. ‘We’ve rolled over five double plays this year; that speaks well of them. In the outfield, we move girls around depending on the opponent and pitcher with Tabby being the leader out there for us.’
The Lady Cats are set to return to action tonight (Wednesday) when they travel to Mitchell for a 5:30 start. Tomorrow, they return home to face Brownstown Central with a 5 p.m. first pitch.