Posted on

Early hole too deep for Lady Cats in championship

Early hole too deep for Lady Cats in championship
Early hole too deep for Lady Cats in championship
North Harrison shortstop Kenedy House ranges to her right to snag a ground ball, eventually cutting down a lead runner at third base against Charlestown Friday. Photo by Brian Smith

North Harrison had a shot to knock off the defending sectional champions Friday, but a large deficit was too much for the Lady Cats to overcome.
Charlestown clung to a nine-run lead after five innings, fighting off a comeback bid by North Harrison, for a 9-6 victory in the Class 3A Silver Creek Sectional championship game.
‘It’s a great sign to get here,’ North Harrison coach Eric Pavey said. ‘They set the goal at the beginning of the year to win sectional. They made it to the final as a young team that started four freshmen. I told them getting to a sectional final is a good feat.’
North Harrison, seeking its fifth sectional title in program history, had two-out opportunities in the first two innings.
Kyia Oppel and Kenedy House had consecutive singles in the opening frame but never made it home. Similar in the second, with two outs, Kodi House and Megan Fessel strung together hits. Fessel’s double brought House to third but, again, neither were able to score.
‘We still had two runners on in each of the first two innings, so we were knocking on the door,’ Pavey said.
The first two innings were smooth in the field for North Harrison, allowing only a hit to Bethany Hall.
Momentum shifted quickly to the Lady Pirates in the third inning due to aggressive work on the base paths and a few North Harrison miscues.
Singles by Kaitlynn Henning and Mckenzie Smith put runners on the corners with one out for the Lady Pirates. Executing a double steal, Charlestown put the first run on the board.
An infield error by North Harrison set up a two-run double by Sarah Willinger to put the Lady Pirates up 4-0. The fifth run came across on another double steal, completing a big inning for Charlestown.
‘I called time out to try and settle them down,’ Pavey said of the inning. ‘We wanted to get outs and get out of that inning. I didn’t mind spotting them a run the way we hit; we just didn’t want to give up as many as we did.’
North Harrison’s bats went silent the next few innings, going three up, three down against Charlestown twirler Carly Price.
Charlestown added a run in the fourth off an error then three more in the fifth inning. A wild pitch brought Hall home, while Cassie Martin delivered a run-scoring single. Executing its third double steal of the game, this time with two outs, lofted Charlestown well ahead, 9-0.
‘There were too many errors,’ Pavey said. ‘If we don’t have errors, we will stay in the game or get a win. When you start to throw the ball around, it causes problems. We hit the ball right with them.’
The Lady Cats didn’t back away. They scratched two runs in the fifth inning, led off by Kodi House drawing a free pass. Jourdan McAfee reached on a fielder’s choice, aided by House beating the throw to second. A well-executed sac bunt by Kaylin Bright set the table for Kenedy House, who took advantage of the situation, plating both runners with a hit.
Although down 9-2 going into the final inning, the Lady Cats caught some fire and clawed back.
Kodi House began the inning with a hit off the glove of Charlestown’s lunging third baseman.
Two addition hits followed ‘ a McAfee single and a Bright double ‘ to score a run. Although Oppel’s ground-out on a bang-bang play at first base brought Charlestown within an out of the title, McAfee scored.
Additional runs scored for North Harrison when Kenedy House and Brittany Rudolph hit consecutive singles. With the score at 9-6, Price induced an Abby Bozynski pop-out to end the game.
‘They showed they didn’t give up even being down 9-0,’ Pavey said. ‘They brought it back to 9-6; to me, that is something to build on.’
The first-year coach said the tournament experience is something to learn from going forward. He said adjustments at the plate prompted better at-bats in the latter innings.
‘Carly worked the outside corner on us,’ he said. ‘When we finally made adjustments late, we were getting hits. It forced her to move back inside, which plays to our strength.’
The House sisters finished with two hits each, while Oppel had two as well.
Smith went 4-1/3 innings, giving up seven hits to take the loss. Price went the distance, striking out six and walking one.
Hall paced the Lady Pirates offense with three hits.
North Harrison is slated to graduate three: Kenedy House, Katie Freeberg and Marlaina Eveslage. House, bound for Wabash Valley College, hit .549 with nine home runs and drove in 45 runs.
‘Even though Kenedy stands out, Marlaina and Katie’s leadership showed despite not playing a whole lot,’ Pavey said. ‘They showed what being a teammate was all about to our younger players, hustling and being up in the dugout.’
As a team, the Lady Cats finished 17-11 and slugged 26 home runs.

Charlestown 005 130 0 ‘ 9 15 1
North Harrison 000 020 4 ‘ 6 10 3
W ‘ C. Price, L ‘ L. Smith.
2B ‘ S. Willinger (C), S. Goedecker (C), Ke. House (NH), M. Fessel (NH).