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Streak for Lady Pirates extends vs. Lady Cats

Streak for Lady Pirates extends vs. Lady Cats
Streak for Lady Pirates extends vs. Lady Cats
North Harrison clean-up hitter Kyia Oppel squares up a pitch for a double in the early going against Charlestown at the Class 3A Salem Sectional Monday. Photo by Brian Smith

A rematch of last season’s softball sectional final in Class 3A took place Monday in the first round at Salem.
Two of the most potent offenses in the tournament field ‘ Charlestown and North Harrison ‘ had to grind through a pitching and defensive duel on Memorial Day.
A key two-out double off the bat of Charlestown’s Brooke Adams in the sixth inning brought around a pair of insurance runs. The Lady Pirates held on over the upset-minded North Harrison softball team for a 3-0 victory and a spot in the semi-final.
The landscape of the game was much different than the regular season meeting when North Harrison scored a 7-6 extra-inning victory on the road on April 14. Then, both teams combined for 25 hits. This time around, each had only four.
‘The first time we played them, we hit them really hard,’ North Harrison coach Mark Lamon said. ‘I think our girls thought it was going to happen again. It’s the end of the season, and (Charlestown pitcher Carly) Price is in top form.’
Playing in top form as a team, Charlestown hadn’t lost a game since the defeat to the Lady Cats, compiling an 18-game win streak.
North Harrison had the first chance to strike when Kyia Oppel ripped a double down the left-field line that had white chalk flying in the air. The sophomore went no farther than second base. Brittany Rudolph’s liner back to the pitcher was caught, while ground outs by Aspen Luther and Megan Fessel followed.
Charlestown’s best scoring opportunities came in part due to a pair of illegal pitches called on North Harrison twirler Abby Bozynski.
In the second inning, Lexi Logsdon grounded out on a 3-2 count but was awarded first base due to the infraction called. A bunt single by Bethany Hall put two on with no outs, but Bozynski settled in. She induced a pair of pop outs before walking Adams on a full count.
With the bases juiced, Bozynski struck out Kaitlynn Henning looking.
The second illegal pitch led to a Charlestown run. With two down, Price hit a spinner off the end of the bat that was misplayed by second baseman Alaina Sears.
Bozynski appeared to be out of the inning when Logsdon popped out on the infield, but she was brought back to the batter’s box on an illegal pitch. With Price granted second base on the call, Logsdon ripped the next pitch she saw to right center, scoring the game’s first run.
Bozynski put the calls behind her, limiting the damage.
‘Abby pitched an awesome game,’ Lamon said. ‘She hit pretty much every spot I called for her. It’s been a rough season for our pitching, but she stepped up and took charge toward the end of the season.’
Lamon said he was concerned after the illegal pitch calls, both of which he debated with the field umpire to no avail, if Bozynski would be bothered mentally. She wasn’t.
‘Earlier in the year, she had one called on her and it distracted her,’ Lamon said. ‘Today it didn’t, and she pitched a really good game. She held them down.’
There wasn’t much offensive support for Bozynski. North Harrison, a team that averaged just more than 7-1/2 runs per game, was shut out for the first time all season.
The Lady Cats were able to get the bat on the ball plenty but had limited quality contact. Charlestown’s Price walked one batter (Sears) and didn’t record a strikeout.
‘It was a tale of us not being patient at the plate,’ Lamon said. ‘We kept hitting her outside, low pitch. Instead of waiting for her to make a mistake, we were just impatient. We had a poor approach at the plate and never adjusted.’
Out of the nine spot, MaKaila Bruner had a one-out single through the infield in the third inning. She was later picked off at the bag by Hall, the Lady Pirates’ catcher.
Two base runners reached for North Harrison in the fifth inning through an Aspen Luther single to center and a Sears walk. Rudolph was robbed of a hit to start the inning by a full-speed dive by McKenzie Smith in center.
North Harrison also had a fine play out of its center fielder in the bottom of the fifth. Jourdan McAfee was on a dead sprint to the fence, taking away a sure extra-base hit from Leah Sherrill.
In the sixth, McAfee nearly robbed another of Adams’ double but couldn’t completely catch up to the ball.
‘That was a long way for Jourdi, but she’s a rare center fielder that can get to a lot of balls,’ Lamon said.
Rudolph provided a one-out double in the seventh for North Harrison but was left hanging.
Price earned the win, going the full seven innings. Bozynski took the loss. She struck out two.
‘I’m proud of them,’ Lamon said of the Lady Cats who finished the season 16-13. ‘We don’t lose anybody off this team. There isn’t a senior. Charlestown had a lot of postseason experience and, if we could have beared down and scratched a run, I thought we could put more pressure on them. We’ll be back.’
Charlestown, co-champion in the Mid-Southern Conference, advanced to face Salem in the semi-final yesterday (Tuesday).

North Harrison 000 000 0 ‘ 0 4 1
Charlestown 001 002 x ‘ 3 4 0
W ‘ Price, L ‘ Bozynski.
2B ‘ Oppel (NH), Rudolph (NH), Adams (C).