TERRE HAUTE —
Administrators and coaches long ago scheduled the East Tennessee State and Indiana University softball teams to both compete in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta last weekend.
Little could they have realized, however, that a Sunday afternoon pitching matchup between the two teams would pair two successful, blonde, and versatile performers from western Indiana in a head-to-head clash.
Northview’s Taylor Carter, a freshman at ETSU, got the best of longtime nemesis Brooke Boetjer, a sophomore from South Putnam, as the Bucs shut out Indiana 6-0 for their only win in the four-game tourney.
Carter excelled both on the mound and in the batter’s box Sunday, pitching a complete-game shutout, belting her first collegiate home run and driving in three runs.
She struck out two while allowing no walks en route to earning her first career complete-game shutout from the pitcher’s circle. The freshman pitcher lowered her ERA from 3.00 to 2.25 and is now 3-1 on the young season.
“IU was a great game,” Carter said via Facebook Sunday night on a long bus ride back to Johnson City, Tenn. “Brooke has always been great competition so I knew it was going to be a little bit of a challenge. Thankfully we strung some hits together and played awesome defense.
“It was a great feeling to get my first home run of the season against IU also.”
One day after committing five errors in a one-sided loss to Georgia Tech, the Bucs played sound defense throughout their win over the Hoosiers (1-9), committing no errors.
Carter has been the winning pitcher in all three victories for the 3-5 Bucs and ranks fourth on the team in hitting at .346. She has two doubles and eight RBI (second on the team).
On the mound, Carter has pitched 31 innings, striking out 14 and walking only two while giving up 27 hits.
Her assessment of the first two weeks of college athletics is a common one.
“College softball has definitely been even more of a challenge than I thought it was going to be,” she said. “Juggling classes, practice, and workouts is hard, but it’s all worth it in the end when you get to play games and have a good time with the team.”
Boetjer fell to 1-1 with the loss, having also won the only game of the year for the Hoosiers. She also pitched a complete game Sunday, giving up five earned runs, one walk and striking out two batters. For the season, Boetjer has appeared in eight games (starting three) with a 5.04 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33.1 innings.
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• Reed off to hot start — Terre Haute South grad A.J. Reed was handed the ball for Kentucky’s season opener against top-ranked Virginia, and the junior lefty didn’t disappoint in an 8-3 win over the Cavaliers.
Reed worked five innings, allowing just three hits and one run, walking three and striking out two.
“He is a lot more mature,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “We have to do a better job of getting his secondary stuff. And he will. All fall and through January and early February his secondary command has been good. It was not very good today.
“His fastball command was very good, especially deep in the count when it needed to be. He is much more mature, he has some things to get better at, and he is not a finished project by any stretch. In some ways he is just getting started.”
The Wildcats defeated North Carolina-Wilmington 10-4 before being tripped up 10-9 on Sunday by Virginia Military Institute. In the UNCW game, Reed was 2 for 5 with a three-run homer.
For the young season, he is batting .385 with five RBI.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at email@example.com.