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Lady Cats a run short in semi-state game

Lady Cats a run short in semi-state game
Lady Cats a run short in semi-state game
North Harrison center fielder Alyssa McAfee throws the ball in after Edgewood dropped in a hit between second baseman Kenedy House (left) and Tabby Bozynski (center). Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

North Harrison softball’s first trip to semi-state in school history didn’t have the outcome the Lady Cats had hoped for.
Edgewood’s Emily Calvin came up with the game’s lone-run scoring hit with a single to center in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 1-0 win in the Brown County Semi-state semi-final in Nashville.
‘They have to be proud of what they’ve accomplished,’ North Harrison coach John Lambert said. ‘They are disappointed because their goal was set amongst themselves; they wanted to play two more games. I won’t lie, I was right there with them on the train.’
The Lady Cats were caught up in a close game, similar to the game prior to theirs. North Harrison and Edgewood had to start two hours later than scheduled due to Lebanon winning a 17-inning affair with Boonville.
North Harrison was unable to break through against Edgewood pitcher Ashley Miller. The Lady Cats had runners on in six of the seven innings but lacked the run-scoring hit. It was the first time they’d been shut out all season.
‘I thought we hit the ball decent but didn’t get the two, three, four hits in an inning the way (we) had since the state tournament started,’ Lambert said.
Kendra Lambert’s lead-off triple in the top of the fourth inning gave the Lady Cats an opportunity to score. Following a Kenedy House groundout, Amber Longest laid down a bunt. She safely reached after Miller attempted to catch Lambert in a run down. Lambert was able to dive back, head first, into third safely, giving the Lady Cats runners at second and third.
The next batter, Miranda Whelan, popped out in foul ground near the Edgewood dugout. Lambert attempted to score from third but was thrown out.
‘I thought with the lead-off triple we might be able to get something done,’ coach Lambert said. ‘But we went 3-4-5 in our order, and it just didn’t happen. Sometimes the ducks line up and everything works out, and sometimes you don’t get the hit you want.’
Lambert said he hoped the safety squeeze would plate a run, but Edgewood played the bunt perfectly.
North Harrison had two on with two outs in the fifth and had a lead-off single in the sixth inning but couldn’t generate runs.
Bri Lampton and Lambert paced the Lady Cats offense with two hits each.
Edgewood’s run came in the bottom of the sixth when it was able to string hits together. Miller and Kristen Headdy hit consecutive one-out singles. Paige Ernst hit into a fielder’s choice out, but an errant throw to first allowed runners to move up a base. Calvin then came up with the clutch hit, a liner up the middle.
Whelan went the distance for the Lady Cats in the circle, striking out one while drawing countless ground-ball outs.
‘I thought she threw some really nice pitches, and (Edgewood) did a nice job hitting the ball,’ Lambert said. ‘I really didn’t consider anything they hit the inning they scored hit real hard. Miranda did fine and held up well for the situation.’
Lambert said Miller was effective for Edgewood when she hit spots.
‘She was very effective of going inside then going back outside and hitting spots. I thought we got fooled a lot today with inside, outside. She didn’t do anything special. I thought we did a good job getting the bat on the ball as the game went on; we just didn’t string enough together,’ Lambert said.
Waiting out the more than three-hour ballgame prior to taking the field didn’t bother the Lady Cats, according to Lambert.
‘I thought the kids competed well and focused after sitting an extra two hours for the game to finish,’ he said. ‘I don’t think the kids were adversely affected by that at all. We came out with good energy. It’s a game where we weren’t overwhelmed or played scared. We played well, just a 1-0 game we were on the wrong end of.’
North Harrison played without starting third baseman Melanie Johnson, who missed the game with an illness. Lampton filled in nicely for Johnson, making several put-outs.
North Harrison graduates a trio of key contributors: Alyssa McAfee, Longest and Whelan.
‘They are all going to be sorely missed,’ Lambert said. ‘Those four kids have been the heart and soul of this team all season. They’ve grown up in my four years as head coach and are true captains. They did things no other North Harrison team did. Did they want more? Yeah, but we won’t let this one game effect how they feel of their accomplishments. We’ll work this summer and be back next year.’
The 2012 Lady Cats set the high mark for wins (26), games played (32) and furthest reached in the state tournament (regional champion).
Edgewood went on to win the semi-state and earn a spot in the state final by defeating Lebanon, 5-4, in the night cap. Lebanon reached the semi-state championship after winning a 17-inning marathon against Boonville. Lexi Reese hit a two-run homer in the top of the 17th to give Lebanon the 2-0 win.
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