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Lady Cats grind to win over Corydon

Lady Cats grind to win over Corydon
Lady Cats grind to win over Corydon
North HarrisonÂ’s Kendra Lambert, sliding, swipes one of two bases as Corydon Central shortstop Kristen Alcorn catches the throw from Kaitlan Money. Photos by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

It was a grind for both teams, but North Harrison was able to scatter three runs on the board to defeat rival Corydon Central in softball Thursday afternoon in Ramsey, 3-1.
‘It was sloppy,’ said North Harrison coach John Lambert. ‘We scored one run in three different innings, which is different for us. It’s like Indiana-Purdue, Kentucky-Louisville, when two rivals step on the field, the intensity is there, but both teams may have been over tensed up for the game.’
Lambert said the tension was obvious in the Lady Cats dugout until his team came to bat in the first inning. An infield error by Corydon Central allowed Lady Cats leadoff hitter Alyssa McAfee to reach first. A stolen base and a passed ball allowed her to advance to third.
Corydon Central pitcher Ashley Crawhorn recorded consecutive strikeouts but walked Amber Longest to put two runners on. Miranda Whelan delivered the first run for the Lady Cats, driving a single to the outfield, plating McAfee.
‘How do you come out flat against a county rival and a conference game?’ asked Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe. ‘I don’t understand. Our desire factor isn’t there, nor is playing hard to keep my position, which is not happening.’
The second run came across in the third inning when Kendra Lambert hit a one-out single. She advanced on a stolen base and wild pitch, setting the table for Kenedy House’s run-scoring sac fly to deep left field.
‘I thought we looked tight until Kendra struck out (in the first inning),’ Lambert said. ‘I think it helped loosen things up in our dugout because no one wanted to do something bad. We came through with some big hits. McAfee scored a run, which has been typical of her this season. Kendra scored on the sac fly to get us to two runs, and we hung on.’
Corydon Central’s offense struggled off Whelan in the circle through the first three innings. In the fourth, the Lady Panthers used Payton Windell’s lead-off single to eventually cut the lead in half. Crawhorn followed with a walk. Two batters later, Ashley Mattingly hit a ball sharp to Lambert at shortstop, but her throw home wasn’t able to beat Windell.
A big opportunity arose for Corydon Central in the fifth inning when the Lady Panthers loaded the bases. Kayla Owsley and Windell reached on walks, while Kaitlan Money hit a single. North Harrison turned to relief pitcher McAfee, who was able to halt the inning with a strikeout.
North Harrison eventually made the score 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Whelan scored courtesy runner Kate Freeberg.
Corydon Central put runners on second and third with two outs in the final inning, but McAfee induced a Crawhorn pop-out to close the game.
‘I called time (during the last at bat), went out there and said we’re up by two runs, playing decent defense, just throw three strikes,’ Lambert said. ‘She’ll hit one, we’ll play defense and the game will be over and go home. The girls made me look like a prophet.’
Crawhorn finished with six strikeouts in the circle, while her counterparts combined for seven.
‘Our senior pitcher is throwing 64 percent strikes, which is good for a kid like her who can move the ball around,’ Briscoe said. ‘She’s leading the team in hitting, and we don’t get that she can’t do it all. Kids are youthful but need to grow up on our team.’
She added her team has talent; it’s learning to play with passion the coach is looking for.
‘We’re going to move some players around, experiment some, finding the combinations that will work,’ Briscoe said. ‘Defense has struggled some, but we need to learn from mistakes and grow from them. We need to start to see growth and get over the mistakes.’
Lambert was pleased with his team’s performance, especially closing out a tight game.
‘These games, like tonight, will help us go to the goal of wanting to win sectional,’ he said. ‘The 10-run, 8-1 games help, but these tight finishes really do help. That was our first save opportunity of the year, and (McAfee) nailed it down. The girls don’t get as excited as closing games, pinch running, pinch hitting as I do, but they are important to winning.’
Lambert said the team will look to get further along in regard to hitting and situational play but he is ‘pretty pleased’ with the progress.
‘I respect Corydon a great deal,’ Lambert said. ‘They are always a tough out, but I was glad our girls can get on the left side (win) tonight. We’ll take it. It makes us 2-1 in the conference, and we speak highly of our softball conference. The girls also want to compete for the all-sports trophy in the conference.’
Corydon Central will return to play tonight (Wednesday) when the Lady Panthers host Providence (5 p.m.). North Harrison will play tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Salem.