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Home runs power Lady Cats by Creek

Home runs power Lady Cats by Creek
Home runs power Lady Cats by Creek
North Harrison's Kaylin Bright is mobbed by teammates after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against Silver Creek. Photos by Brian Smith

A home-run surge isn’t a bad thing.
Hitting a solo blast in the bottom of the first Thursday off the aluminum of Kaylin Bright, North Harrison ripped off 10 straight runs to defeat Silver Creek, 10-3, in Ramsey.
Bright’s beaming belt over the fence wasn’t the lone long ball for the Lady Cats against Silver Creek. Teammates Kenedy House and Kyia Oppel joined the home-run parade as well.
Silver Creek entered the game 3-0 in the Mid-Southern Conference but suffered its first set back against a North Harrison offense that pounded out 11 hits. For North Harrison twirler Lacie Smith, she earned her first career complete game victory, going the distance after giving up three in the opening inning.
‘This wasn’t a good win for us; it was a great win,’ North Harrison coach Eric Pavey said. ‘For us, the sticks came out. We’ve been in the cages a lot the last few days, and they came to life.’
In the top of the first inning, Shayla Cravens, Heather Knight and Olivia Scarbrough picked up RBI hits for the Lady Dragons.
Falling behind 3-0 didn’t seem to bother the Lady Cats. Pavey said his encouraging phrase to his team is ‘Win the inning.’
They fought back in the bottom of the first to score three, pleasing the coach with a push.
Bright began the scoring with a one-out homer that was followed by Oppel hitting a triple to the same direction in right. Having a day at the plate, Oppel nearly hit for the cycle, going 4 for 4 with two singles, a triple and a homer.
Following a Kenedy House walk, the slugger would draw two on the day, Brittany Randolph hit a ball on the infield. Oppel beat the throw home, but House was cut down at third, despite Pavey briefly disputing the call.
Silver Creek starting pitcher McKenzie Bush ran into control problems, walking Kodi House then Aspen Luther to plate the game-tying run. With the bases loaded, Katie Freeberg hit a sharp ball toward the center of the field, but Bush made a nifty snag to limit North Harrison’s damage.
After nine Lady Cats batted in the first inning, eight came to the plate in the second.
Jourdan McAfee hit one of her two doubles to start the frame. Oppel later followed with an RBI single, then Kenedy House brought her home. House lifted a ball to left center, clearing the fence for her fifth home run of the season.
North Harrison added a fourth and fifth run in the inning when Abby Bozynski, Kodi House and Luther hit consecutive singles. Kodi House came across to give North Harrison an 8-5 lead when aggressive play on the base paths forced the Lady Dragons to throw the ball around excessively.
‘I like to put pressure on the defense and make them throw the ball,’ Pavey said. ‘We bunted some and stole some bases. It caused some issues but helped lead to some runs.’
Lasting just two innings, Bush was replaced by Shayla Cravens in the circle. Cravens would find better luck, striking out seven in four innings.
The change in pitchers, however, didn’t affect Oppel. The freshman made it 9-3 in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off solo homer in the same direction of House’s blast.
‘They were happy,’ Pavey said of the trio of home-run hitters. ‘That was Kyia’s first home run, then Kaylin’s first this year. They did well. Kaylin’s was a great shot to right field.’
Pavey said Bright is active in the school’s weight-lifting class, the team’s top performer in the squat and bench press. The catcher proved the power with her early inning home run.
Despite the initial runs by the Lady Dragons, Smith kept her calm on the pitching rubber. The freshman allowed a runner to reach during the next six innings, but her opponents never advanced beyond first base. In the fifth, Olivia Scarbrough was cut down trying to steal second by Bright.
Smith struck out four batters and walked two.
‘She settled in real well after the first inning,’ Pavey said of Smith, who was making her first start. ‘If we can hit locations, we can get the ground out or fly out we are looking for. We aren’t an overpowering pitching team, but it’s about hitting location.’
Pavey said an early adjustment Smith made, striding out more, aided her as the game continued.
The play behind Smith was strong as well. Kenedy House made a pair of plays on the run at shortstop, while Randolph made a tricky catch at first in the sixth.
‘We played solid, and we don’t want to throw the ball around,’ Pavey said. ‘We had a chance to maybe go for two a few times, but Kyia made the smart decision to not go for it, to keep us in two outs, runner-on-first situations. Staying smart with the ball creates less chance for errors.’
At the plate, to go with Oppel’s near-perfect day, Bozynski was 2-for-3 while McAfee was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Kenedy House finished 1-for-2 but drew a pair of walks.
Alexis Barnett, Scarbrough and Cravens logged two hits each for the Lady Dragons, who finished with eight as a team.
North Harrison followed the win against Silver Creek with a five-inning, 10-0 victory Friday over Scottsburg in a make-up game. Collecting hits in the victory were Kenedy House (two), Kodi House, Oppel, Bozynski, Jesika VanZandt, Bright, Aspen Luther, Megan Fessel, McAfee and Rudolph.
House and Bozynski had a home run each.
In the circle, Smith earned the win, striking out four and walking three.
North Harrison improved to 4-2 in MSC play. The Lady Cats split a pair of games on Saturday at home, defeating Henryville (5-2) but falling to Southwestern (7-6). Bright and McAfee had home runs against Southwestern. Against Henryville, McAfee went 3 for 4 with a triple. Kenedy House went 2 for 3 with a double and batted in two runs.
As a team, the Lady Cats have 14 home runs, led by six from Kenedy House.

Silver Creek 300 000 0 ‘ 3 8 3
North Harrison 350 101 0 ‘ 10 12 1
W ‘ L. Smith, L ‘ M. Bush.
2B ‘ O. Scarbrough (SC), B. Miller (SC), J. McAfee 2 (NH); 3B ‘ K. Oppel (NH); HR ‘ K. House (NH), K. Oppel (NH), K. Bright (NH).