Overcoming pre-game injury part of shutout
Huddled in the outfield grass after a 2-0 win over Madison in the first round of the Class 3A Salem softball sectional, the Corydon Central players were screaming toward assistant coach Elaine Weaver’s cell phone.
‘We won! We love you, Bethany!’
There was a bit of shock in the dugout prior to the lineups being introduced for the second game of a Memorial Day slate of games Monday. Senior first baseman Bethany McClanahan came off the field in pain after injuring her throwing hand.
As she was sent off to the hospital for X-rays to confirm a dislocated broken finger, the Lady Panthers were left with plugging her spot in the order and the field.
Settling in and playing defense behind pitcher Jenna Stiles, who gave up just two hits, Corydon Central scored a pair of runs to ensure a spot in the semi-final against Brownstown Central.
‘We’ll take a 2-0 win with your senior first baseman going out during warm-ups,’ Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe said.
A utility and flex player much of the regular season, Hanna Seacat jumped at the opportunity to play the corner infield spot. She was an asset at the plate as well, going 1 for 2 with a single and sacrifice bunt.
‘She is a kid that is so absolutely coachable,’ Briscoe said. ‘She doesn’t have the best softball skills on this team, but she probably has the largest heart when it comes to playing the game. She got a base hit, a sac bunt down, doesn’t drop one ball at first base. The reality is, she saw an opportunity and went for it.’
Briscoe said several options could have been in play when the injury occurred but opted to insert Seacat.
The game against Madison was scoreless through three innings. In the third, a lead-off single by Stiles down the third-base line put on a runner. Courtesy runner Gloria Harper advanced to second when Seacat laid down a sac bunt.
After a Savana Wiseman ground out, catcher Chelsey Smith came up with a clutch hit. She sent a change-up to the gap, scoring Harper while cruising into second with a double.
‘Chelsey has really come along with her hitting,’ Briscoe said of the junior. ‘At first, we could only bunt her, but she’s become as solid as Wiseman in that part of the order. She is a player that has really developed from her freshman year to now.’
With a 1-0 lead after four, the Lady Panthers added another in the fifth. Hitting out of the left-handed batter’s box, Sydney Oskin burned the Madison outfield with a double to the fence with one down.
Twin sister Kaleigh Oskin brought her aggressive running sister around to score when she reached on an error at third by Annelise Hackney.
Kristin Alcorn also reached in the inning with an infield hit, but she and Kaleigh were left stranded.
The 2-0 lead was enough for Stiles in the circle. She closed with nine strikeouts while giving up a pair of hits. Bree Barnes started Madison’s sixth inning with a double to center but advanced no further than second base.
Corydon Central had to escape trouble in the second inning. Madison’s Hackney reached on a walk, then Bailey Smith reached on an infield error after hitting a slow roller in front of the dish.
With Hackney on third and no outs, Aaliyah Green put a bunt down the third-base line. Fielding the ball, Alcorn turned to chase Hackney to third. Tossing to Sydney Oskin, the tag was applied for the inning’s first out.
Stiles took care of business from there, striking out a batter, then forcing Erin Laufer to ground out.
Corydon Central had at least one base runner on in each inning but the last versus Madison twirler Alexis Wolf.
‘We didn’t hit the ball nearly as hard as we wanted to,’ Briscoe said. ‘We’ll have to rise to the occasion against Brownstown in the next one.’
Sydney Oskin continued her stellar freshman year with a 2-for-4 day, with both hits being doubles.
‘We have a 12-13 record, but we haven’t been out of many ballgames this year, maybe two,’ Briscoe said. ‘We’ve always been in the hunt with the potential to win. It depends on who shows up.’
A recent win against another Hoosier Hills Conference team ‘ Floyd Central ‘ helped Corydon Central with momentum heading into tournament play.
‘You go to Floyd Central and beat Floyd Central the week before sectional, you’ve done something,’ Briscoe said. ‘But then against New Albany we were flatter than flat to start. It’s one game at a time now.’
Corydon Central was scheduled to play Brownstown Central in the semi-final yesterday (Tuesday). The championship game is set for tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of Charlestown versus Salem.
Corydon Central 000 110 0 ‘ 2 6 1
Madison 000 000 0 ‘ 0 2 1
W ‘ Stiles, L ‘ Wolf.
2B ‘ S. Oskin 2 (CC), Smith (CC), Barnes (M).