TERRE HAUTE —
Northview and Terre Haute North had their chances to keep Roncalli, tied for seventh in the preseason Class 4A state rankings, from winning the Braves Bash tournament championship for high school softball Saturday at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex.
Neither could get the job done.
Hope Torbert hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning for Northview, giving the Knights a 7-2 lead. But Roncalli rallied for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 8-7 in the first game of the Gold Bracket championship round.
Next Roncalli faced North. A North victory would have put greater significance on its final matchup with Northview later in the afternoon. But Roncalli pitcher Kendra Lynch homered to open the contest and the Rebels from Indianapolis ended up with an 11-5 triumph, clinching the tournament championship for the second time in three years.
Against Northview, North got home runs from winning pitcher Allison Crick and sophomore Conner Nelson — already her third of the season — in posting a 7-4 victory to finish second in the Gold Bracket.
“We had two bad innings [against Roncalli],” North coach Jack Kirchner told the Tribune-Star after the tournament. “In the seventh inning, they never hit a ball out of the infield [and still scored three runs]. … We’re young and it’s early in the season. I think we’re going to be fine. We moved the ball pretty well against a pretty good [Roncalli] pitcher.
“In the Northview game, they didn’t pitch Taylor [Carter]. They wanted to use some other kids and that’s fine, but we hit the ball well. I like what I’m seeing right now.”
“Last [Friday] night, we struggled a little bit [in losing to North Central 1-0 in Pool C],” coach Bethany Jones said from the Northview perspective. “But I was really proud of our girls for really getting it together [Saturday]. We played two tough teams early in [Evansville] Mater Dei and Roncalli. We were up against Roncalli 7-2 and they’re a good team.”
Because of that Friday loss to North Central, the Knights needed to defeat Evansville Mater Dei on Saturday morning to have any chance of emerging as the top seed from Pool C.
Behind the 14-strikeout, shutout pitching performance and two home runs from the right-handed Carter, Northview blanked the Evansville squad 9-0. That left Northview, North Central and Mater Dei all at 1-1 at the conclusion of Pool C play, but the runs-allowed tiebreaker catapulted Northview into the Gold Bracket.
The Silver Bracket consisted of South Putnam (which placed second in Pool B with a 1-1 record after the two-time defending Class 2A state champion routed Terre Haute South 13-5 Saturday morning), North Central and Bedford North Lawrence.
South Putnam, which saw its 58-game winning streak (dating back to 2011) halted Friday night when it lost to Roncalli 16-6 in Pool B action, slipped past a young North Central team 5-3 and hammered BNL 10-2 Saturday afternoon to claim the Silver Bracket crown.
Also worth noting, South Putnam junior MaKenzie Trisler went 9 for 13 with three home runs (two against South), three doubles, one triple and seven runs batted in during the Eagles’ three games Saturday.
“We’ve hit the ball really well, especially today,” South Putnam coach Chris Jones assessed. “Last [Friday] night was a great challenge for us in playing Roncalli. … Today, we sharpened up our defense a little bit and the offense kept going.”
Meanwhile, North Central downed BNL 9-0 behind the combined shutout pitching of Christian Chambers and freshman Katelynn Kennedy, who also homered in the game, to place second in the Silver Bracket.
“Last year, we were in the Bronze Bracket and we went 1-3 [for the tournament],” North Central coach Erica Ketner-Arnold reflected. “This year, we were in the Silver Bracket and went 2-2. At times, we had three to four freshmen on the field. The girls have made so much improvement, even from just their first game this year. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see that improvement throughout the season.”
Evansville Mater Dei, the tough-luck third seed from Pool C, captured the Bronze Bracket title Saturday by knocking off Terre Haute South 7-2 and South Vermillion 11-1 in five innings.
South’s Braves did bounce back from their early-Saturday setbacks to South Putnam and Evansville Mater Dei by clobbering South Vermillion 22-1 in five innings. They posted 22 hits, including a two-run homer by Taylor Schilling, and tallied eight runs in the second inning.
“I think the Evansville Mater Dei pitcher kept us off balance — location, speed, mixing it up really well,” South coach Dwayne Stout mentioned. “Against South Putnam, we failed to make a few plays. They’re a great team.
“In the South Vermillion game, I thought our girls came out more focused and more determined. We did a good job of putting it in the gaps. I think the seniors got with everybody [before the game] and got them refocused on what was important.”
This was the fifth year for the Braves Bash, which uses three fields simultaneously for live games.