TERRE HAUTE —
As the first round of pool play got underway for the Braves Bash high school softball tournament Friday evening at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex, hard-fought games could be found on three different fields.
In Pool C, North Central and Northview battled through six scoreless innings before NC freshman Ivy Mangram — running for Christian Chambers, who had led off the seventh with a single — scored the only run after a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice on a Madi Bolinger grounder to second base. Freshman reliever Katelynn Kennedy held the Knights scoreless in the bottom of the frame to preserve a 1-0 triumph.
“We had three freshmen starting that game,” North Central coach Erica Ketner-Arnold told the Tribune-Star. “We had only one senior on the field. … The girls made contact with the ball. They played good defense. They weren’t chasing too many bad pitches. And that’s what our gameplan was.”
From the Northview perspective, coach Bethany Jones thought her pitcher Taylor Carter — who allowed only two hits — performed well enough to receive a victory.
“She had a lot of movement when they were supposed to move,” Jones mentioned. “She was able to change her speed up. We’ve just got to be smarter defensively. We made some mental errors defensively. … It’s early in the season, so I look for these girls to keep learning and hopefully we’ll correct those mistakes.”
Soon after that matchup ended, Terre Haute South broke open a scoreless Pool A contest with Roncalli — tied for seventh in the state’s preseason Class 4A ranking — by scoring two runs in the top of the eighth.
Those were produced by an RBI triple by Carlee McFarland and an RBI single by Hollie Jones.
But Roncalli bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the eighth — the final coming home on Megan Choinacky’s single — to post a 3-2 win.
“I had two sophomores step up — McFarland and Jones,” first-year South coach Dwayne Stout noted. “They took some strides today. … We had seven hits and three walks — and they [Roncalli] don’t walk a lot of girls — so we had a lot of baserunners and opportunities.”
Stout said sophomore Jackie Swain will see time on the mound today as the tournament wraps up pool play in the morning and continues with gold-, silver- and bronze-medal bracket games through the late afternoon.
Friday’s other first-round clash may have been the most entertaining of all as Terre Haute North rallied from a 7-1 deficit to down Bedford North Lawrence 9-7 in eight innings in Pool B action. Sophomore Conner Nelson hit a two-out, two-run homer down the left-field line in the bottom of the eighth for the game-winner.
The Stars from Bedford had erupted for seven runs in the fourth to seize what appeared to be a comfortable 7-1 advantage.
“They had a few hits, but we also had a few errors,” North coach Jack Kirchner pointed out. “One thing about this [North] team — it’s early — but at practice and in these first two games [counting Thursday’s 11-0 whitewash of Sullivan], it looks like we’re never going to be out of a ballgame. The way we hit and move the ball, I think we’re always going to be in it until the last out.”
Kirchner also offered words of praise for Nelson.
“Conner’s a great kid, but sometimes you have to get her to relax,” he said. “She gets a little nervous. … But she really works hard at this and she deserves the success.”
Friday’s early games
Bedford North Lawrence 000 700 00 — 7 6 2
Terre Haute North 001 033 02 — 9 16 5
Morran, Silvers (3), Morran (8) and Kline; Ludwig, Crick (4), Ludwig (7) and McBride. W — Ludwig, 2-0. L — Morran. HR — THN: Nelson (2).
Highlights — For North, Conner Nelson hit a game-winning, two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning and ended up 2 for 5; Jazmine Allen went 3 for 4 with 3 runs; Katie Herrick went 3 for 4; Jessica Will went 3 for 5 with 3 runs; and Kaci McBride smashed a 3-run double in the 5th.
Next — North (2-0) will face South Vermillion in the final game of Braves Bash Pool B action at 9 a.m. today.
Terre Haute South 000 000 02 — 2 7 0
Roncalli 000 000 03 — 3 10 0
Gossman (L, 1-1) and Scamihorn; Lynch, Golden (6) and McKeand. W — Golden, 1-0.
Highlights — For South, Cheyenne Reinig went 2 for 4, Carlee McFarland tripled in 1 run and scored 1 and Hollie Jones singled in the other run. For Roncalli, Megan Choinacky singled home Kendra Lynch with the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Next — South (1-1) will take on South Putnam in the final game of Braves Bash Pool A action at 9 a.m. today. Roncalli was 2-0 after this game.
North Central 000 000 1 — 1 2 2
Northview 000 000 0 — 0 5 2
Chambers, Kennedy (6) and Young; Carter (L, 0-2) and Hughes. W — Kennedy, 1-0.
Highlights — For North Central, pinch-runner Ivy Mangram scored the only run on a fielder’s choice grounder in the top of the 7th inning and Christian Chambers and Katelynn Kennedy combined to pitch a 5-hit shutout.
Next — Northview (1-2) will square off against Evansville Mater Dei in the final game of Braves Bash Pool C action at 9 a.m. today. North Central took a 3-0 mark into Friday’s late game against Evansville Mater Dei.
Friday’s late scores — Roncalli 16, South Putnam 6 (5 innings), Bedford North Lawrence 4, South Vermillion 1; Evansville Mater Dei 2, North Central 0.
Today’s schedule — Final games of pool play will take place at 9 a.m. Gold-, silver- and bronze-medal games will be played at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Pool A — Roncalli 2-0, Terre Haute South 0-1, South Putnam 0-1.
Pool B — Terre Haute North 1-0, Bedford North Lawrence 1-1, South Vermillion 0-1.
Pool C — Evansville Mater Dei 1-0, North Central 1-1, Northview 0-1.