South Vermillion snapped one streak and extended another Thursday night to win Class 3A Sectional 28 8-5 over Brown County at Edgewood High School.
Coming from behind twice, South Vermillion captured its first softball sectional championship since 1994 and defeated Brown County in the sectional for the third straight year.
“I’d like to win [the sectional] for my school and my town and bring [the trophy] back home. Winning it for my dad was amazing and playing for my dad is everything for me,” winning pitcher Taylor Andrew said afterward.
South Vermillion (17-8) will play host to Tri-West in a one-game regional Tuesday. Tri-West defeated Indian Creek in Sectional 27.
Coach Mike Andrew, who had a heart catherization the morning of May 7 then coached the Wildcats that evening, just stood watching South Vermillion’s players jump around and hug each other.
“It’s a wonderful feeling. They deserve it. [We had] a lot of adversity this year, but we pulled through. We knew we could do it coming in. The kids all had faith and they were looking forward to [the game],” coach Andrew said.
South Vermillion overcame adversity in the championship game. Brown County scored two runs in the first inning on two hits before coach Andrew made a pitching change, bringing on Taylor Andrew for starter Daphne Dunegan.
Over the next 6 2/3 innings, young Andrew scattered four Brown County hits, gave up three runs, one earned, and struck out 11 batters while walking only one.
“Sometimes you just have to make a change for the heck of it,” coach Andrew said. “[Dunegan] had not thrown a bad ballgame, they were just hitting it, so sometimes you have to make a change. I have confidence in both [pitchers].”
The Wildcats took a 3-2 lead in the third when Dunegan, delivered a bases loaded double. Brown County countered with two runs in the fourth for a 4-3 edge.
South Vermillion took total command of the game with a four-run fifth, sending nine batters to the plate.
Bailey Mack started the rally with a bunt single, followed by shallow hits from Andrew and Dunegan. Ariel Spivey, a freshman, followed with a double that scored Mack and Andrew. Dunegan scored on a wild pitch and Spivey touched home as Nicole Murphy reached base on a Brown County error.
The Wildcats took a 7-4 lead into the sixth and added an insurance run when Andrew singled, stole second and scored on Spivey’s third hit of the game.
“[I’m] very excited. We were so prepared for this season, we were so ready for this game and we made it. We’re ready for regionals,” Spivey said.
Andrew, who retired the side in order in the second and third frames, got out of a sixth-inning jam with two strikeouts and finished the game with a strikeout.
“I just made sure I kept my focus every pitch, took my time and made sure I hit my spots every time. I know even if I did make a bad mistake, I had my teammates and defense behind me and they back me up 100 percent,” Andrew said.
The regional game time will be announced later this week.
South Vermillion 8, Brown County 5
South Vermillion (AB-R-H-RBI) — Vitaniemi cf 4-1-0-0, Mack ss 4-2-1-0, Andrew lf-p 4-3-2-0, Dunegan p-3b 4-1-2-3, Spivey c 4-1-3-3, Hixon 3-0-0-0, Cox 1b 4-0-1-0, Garver pr 0-0-0-0, Murphy rf 4-1-0-0, Johnson 2b 3-0-0-0, Crouch ph 1-0-0-0. TOTALS 35-8-10-8.
Brown County (AB-R-H-RBI) — Smith cf 4-1-1-0, Ellis ss-3b 4-1-0-0, Harper 2b 3-0-0-0, Johnson 3b-p 3-2-2-2, McDonald p-ss 2-0-0-0, Southerland lf 3-1-1-0, Anderson rf 3-0-0-0, Ross dp 3-0-2-3, Walsh c 0-0-0-0, Sandlin 1b 3-0-0-0. TOTALS 28-5-6-5.
South Vermillion 003 041 0 —8
Brown County 200 201 0 — 5
E — Andrew, Nixon, A. Johnson, Harper, C. Johnson. LOB — SV 7, BC 4. 2B — Dunegan, Spivey, C.Johnson. SB — Andrew. CS — McDonald.
IP H R ER BB SO
Dunegan 0.1 2 2 0 0 0
Andrew 6.2 4 3 1 1 11
IP H R ER BB SO
McDonald 4 8 7 4 0 4
Johnson 3 2 1 1 1 3
W — Andrew. L — McDonald. WP — McDonald. HBP — by McDonald (Crouch).
Next — South Vermillion (17-8) will host Tri-West on Tuesday in the Class 3A Regional game. Brown County finished 19-10.