3-run seventh fuels Corydon comeback
It may seem like an unusual time to press for a win, but Corydon Central needed one.
In their second game of a full slated softball season, the Lady Panthers picked up their first win last Tuesday, a 6-5 decision against visiting Henryville.
Adrenaline and excitement filled the conclusion as well, with Jenna Stiles delivering a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh. In the final inning, Corydon Central scored three runs, rallying from two down.
‘We needed that,’ Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe said. ‘I’ve been coaching a long time, and this win was probably needed worse than any group of kids I’ve ever been around. They are second-guessing themselves right now.’
Confidence can increase after the comeback in the seventh from a 5-3 deficit. Leading off the inning, Chelsey Smith drew a four-pitch walk against Lady Hornet reliever Peyton Ottersbach. Ottersbach entered in the fifth inning and struggled with command, despite striking out five.
Keeping a watchful eye as well, Kristen Alcorn reached first on a free pass.
Putting the ball in play, Aly Chambers bunted from the left-handed batter’s box toward first base. Although the contact with the aluminum initially sent the ball in the air, it fell between the pitcher and first baseman, allowing the speedy Chambers to reach safely.
The bunt single packed the bases full. Payton Windell, who delivered a two-run double in the third, struck out in the seventh.
Scoring the first run to split Henryville’s lead to one was Bethany McClanahan. Out of the clean-up spot, she hit a sharp ball toward shortstop, but a force try at third saw Alcorn slide in safely. The play plated Smith, setting up the heroics by Stiles.
Facing a 2-2 count, Stiles hit a hard ground ball through the infield and to the grass. Rounding third from second base, Chambers safely slid in behind Alcorn for the game-winning run.
‘What we saw in the seventh inning is this team and who they really are,’ Briscoe said. ‘We had the right part of our lineup coming up.’
Stiles’ hit, combined with her win in the circle, was part of a 2-for-4 afternoon.
‘If Jenna hadn’t come up with that hit, we could have been in trouble,’ Briscoe said. ‘Our hitters behind her have struggled so far.’
In the field, the Lady Panthers had some hiccups, committing five errors.
Henryville capitalized on most of those errors.
Back-to-back infield errors in the third inning put a pair of runners on with two outs. Bringing home the first run of the game was Spencer Whitehouse with a single to right. Her effort was followed by Ashtyn Kaski hitting the ball over the second-base bag, plating a second run.
The 2-0 lead for the Lady Hornets didn’t last long.
Corydon Central had its opportunity to take advantage of an error. Despite making several rangy plays at shortstop, Emily Hollis booted a ball hit by Abby Buechele to start the bottom of the third. Two outs later, Chambers reached on an error.
Windell came through in the clutch, pulling a double toward the left-field line. Her shot scored Buechele and Chambers before Windell survived getting caught in a run down between second and third bases.
Knotting the game at 2, Henryville bounced back in a big way. Hannah Nunn took the first pitch she saw and sent it over the center-field fence.
Escaping further damage, Henryville’s Hollis lined into a double play later in the fourth.
Corydon Central led off the bottom of the fourth with a Stiles single, but the Lady Panthers couldn’t push a runner beyond second base.
In the fifth, Henryville grew its lead to 5-2. An Emma Hendricks single followed by a walk set the table for Whitehouse. She reached on an error. Two batters later, Sam Roth lined a ball off Corydon Central third baseman Savana Wiseman. Briefly shaken on the play, Wiseman stayed in for the remainder of the inning before being lifted later.
Roth’s single scored a run, as did a Nunn ground ball out, which plated Whitehouse.
‘They hit the ball hard against us,’ Briscoe said.
With the bases loaded, Stiles escaped the inning, striking out two in a row. She would go all seven innings, giving up two earned runs while fanning nine.
Kaski started the game for Henryville, giving up two runs on two hits through four innings, striking out one. She was lifted for Ottersbach. In the bottom of the fifth, walks to Alcorn and Chambers started the frame. Later in the inning, a McClanahan ground out plated Alcorn.
Neither team scored in the sixth, leading to the wild finale by the Lady Panthers.
‘I thought Henryville did a real nice job on their opportunities,’ Briscoe said. ‘We didn’t do so well with most of our opportunities.’
Kaski and Roth had two hits each for Henryville, while Stiles was the only Corydon Central player with a multiple.
Briscoe said the win was needed due to confidence. The five errors worried the coach, but she was encouraged by the resiliency in the final inning.
‘They are doubting themselves,’ Briscoe said. ‘Kristin Alcorn is one of the better shortstops to ever come through this program, and she’s kicking herself around out there. It’s a matter of time. It may take the whole month of April for us to get in sync with each other.’
The win brought Corydon Central to 1-1 on the season.
The Lady Panthers will play at home today (Wednesday) against Perry Central at 5:30 p.m. Jumping into Mid-Southern Conference action, Corydon Central will head to Charlestown tomorrow then host Clarksville on Tuesday.
Henryville 002 120 0 ‘ 5 9 2
Corydon Central 002 010 3 ‘ 6 5 5
W ‘ Stiles (1-1), L ‘ Ottersbach.
2B ‘ Roth (H), Windell (CC); HR ‘ Nunn (H).