It was an excellent night for starting softball pitchers to help their own cause Monday night in the Class 4A Northview Sectional.
Terre Haute South’s Marissa Stout delivered a three-run home run to right-center field in the fourth inning, adding a solo shot to left in the sixth and pitching a complete game for the Braves. South defeated Martinsville 7-2.
In the sectional opener, Taylor Carter posted a similar performance, with two homers, four RBIs and a complete-game pitching performance. “That’s just a great performance by two good ballplayers right there,” said South coach Steve Woerner, who was on hand to watch the opener before his team took the field.
Carter’s two-run homer in the sixth provided the best drama of the evening. It pulled Northview ahead for a 5-4 victory against Terre Haute North, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Patriots.
In a 2011 sectional meeting, the Patriots intentionally walked Carter with the game on the line, North holding on for a 4-3 win.
This time, North coach Jack Kirchner put Carter, who had hit her 8th home run of the season in the third, on intentionally in the fifth.
Faced with the same decision in the seventh with a 4-3 lead, Kirchner took his chances. After an Ashley Hughes single in the seventh inning, Carter came to the plate with one out. Walking Carter in this spot meant putting the tying run at second base with just one out so Kirchner directed pitcher Hillary Rittenberg to pitch to Carter with caution. The first two pitches were off the outside part of the plate, but the third came knee high down the middle, allowing Carter to whip the head of the bat for the game-winning home run.
Carter finished the game off with a strikeout, getting one in each inning and finishing with nine. She also pitched through four Northview errors, three coming in one inning as outfielders battled a wind blowing across the field toward the right-field pole. All four runs allowed were unearned, but Northview persevered.
“Those first four runs should have never scored,” Jones said. “You have to let that go because we had more ball to play.”
Carter’s heroics at the plate were nothing new to her teammates, but to come through in the postseason against a rival opponent was poignant.
“I was kind of expecting to get walked again, but I was really happy they didn’t,” Carter said. “I knew it was going to be low and outside because that’s the pitch I cannot hit. I just knew it was going there and I put a swing on it.”
As for her pitching, it was another day at the office. Carter’s riseball aided her solid outing in which she left five North runners stranded.
“They’re a great team, and I just went out there and threw my best,” Carter said. “We really wanted to win it for our seniors. We knew we had to give it our all.”
For South, Stout gave up two first-inning singles that Martinsville turned into a run, and the Braves’ offense was stymied for three innings against Martinsville’s hard-throwing Chandler Elliott.
The second time through the order, the Braves adjusted.
Mackenzie McGregor led off with a single, and Shelbie Scamihorn poked one through the infield. Stout took a pitch high over the fence in right-center field for her third home run of the season and a 3-1 Braves’ lead.
“We usually start a little rough, we usually pull through. That [homer] started the momentum but all the girls pulled through. It takes a lot of girls to get eight [runs],” Stout said.
“We thought we’d hit her,” Woerner said of Martinsville’s pitcher. “The low pitch, the drop ball was getting to us. Marissa’s homer picked up our energy a little bit.”
Stout added a shot right down the left-field line to start the sixth inning, and Jackie Swain hit a two-run homer three batters later.
Stout allowed eight hits, but none went for extra bases.
“Pitch calling, we had it mixing speeds and in and out, trying to keep them off-balance as much as I could,” Stout said.
Tonight, the two ace pitchers will face off against one another. South won the meeting earlier this season by a surprising 11-0 score.
Stout’s looking forward to it.
“I guess we both just had it today,” she said of the two-homer performances.
Terre Haute North 003 000 0 — 3 7 2
Northview 002 010 2 — 5 11 4
Rittenberg (L) and McBride; Carter (W, 16-5) and Hughes. HR — N: Carter 2 (9).
Highlights — For Northview, Taylor Carter went 2 for 3 with two home runs and 4 RBIs; Ashley Hughes went 4 for 4 with 2 runs; Alyssa Conrad had an RBI single; and Madison Nevins 2 for 3 with 2 doubles.
Martinsville 100 010 0 — 2 8 1
Terre Haute South 000 313 x — 7 11 1
Elliott (L) and Dailey; Stout (W) and Scamihorn. HR — THS: Stout 2 (4), Swain (1).
Highlights — For Terre Haute South, Marissa Stout went 2 for 4 with two home runs and 4 RBIs; Shelbie Scamihorn 1 for 3 with an RBI; Mackenzie McGregor 3 for 3 with a double and an RBI; Jackie Swain hit a two-run home run; and Rebecca Latta had a double.
Next — Terre Haute South (21-8) plays Northview (23-6) today at 5:30 p.m. Martinsville finishes 12-13. Terre Haute North finishes its season 21-8.