By Steve Joos
One bad inning and an era ends.
The Tecumseh Lady Braves erupted for seven runs in the top of the second inning with two outs last week and that was really all that was needed in their Class 1A Sectional softball game with New Harmony.
From that point on, the Lady Braves dominated the contest, ending the last softball season in New Harmony’s history with a 13-0 rout in five innings under the 10-run rule.
Sophomore pitcher Tiffany Summers pitched a perfect game, fanning nine Lady Rappites, including five in a row over the second and third innings. Seven of her nine whiffs came in the middle three frames, while the defending Class 1A State champions were building their 13-0 cushion.
“She (Summers) was good, she brought it quick, she had a rise ball,” Lady Rappites’ Coach Jeff Moore explained. “Once she got two strikes, she threw that rise ball and we just couldn’t catch up to it.”
Then there was the top of the second.
“The second inning doomed us,” he said. “It should have been 3-0, but we didn’t give up. I’m really sad for these girls, I would have liked to have at least scored against this bunch, but we did what we could.”
Allie Beard started things off in the top of the second with a walk, stole second and moved to second on a single by Mackenzie Duncan. She scored after being caught in a rundown between home and third, but getting in under third baseman Madison Worman’s throw to the plate.
Emily Bailey beat an infield single to load the bases, and Katie Burkett drew a walk to force in a run and that made it 3-0.
Then the errors came. A bobbled tap to second and a dropped fly ball in right field were sandwiched around a double by Cherish Lamborn and a single by Rachel Morris to score three more runs, and then Brenna Floyd singled in the last two tallies to make it 7-0 Tecumseh.
“We had a pop fly that was dropped and that opened the flood gates,” Moore said. “We had some bad throws here and there and they all come back to haunt you against a good team. They’re ranked fifth for a reason. They’re good.”
Three more hits, one on a misplayed bunt, a hit batsman, a fielder’s choice and a passed ball resulted in three more runs in the top of the third, while three more runs crossed the plate in the fourth on a single by Duncan, a bunt by Tiera Rush, a walk and RBI singles by Kara Snow and Lamborn.
Tecumseh was banging out 14 hits, while the Lady Rappites had trouble making contact.
Kendall Morris led off the bottom of the first inning with a hard smash right at the Tecumseh second baseman and Worman lifted a high fly ball that the Lady Braves shortstop hauled in, but otherwise New Harmony couldn’t make a lot of contact.
Between Worman’s pop up to third leading off the bottom of the second and Morris’ grounder to short, opening the New Harmony fourth, the Lady Rappites weren’t making any contact at all.
In the fifth, after Worman flew out, Kelsey Owen hit a foul pop up which Snow was able to catch and Kendall Wilson (Coach Moore’s niece) became Summers’ ninth strikeout victim, closing the book on New Harmony’s last softball season.
Moore complimented Tecumseh coach Gordon Wood and his staff for their efforts over the years and the program they’ve built.
New Harmony closed its last campaign with a 4-9 record, not what Moore had hoped for at the outset of the year.
”It wasn’t what we expected, but towards the end of the year, we were playing better softball,” he said. “I know a lot of it had to do with the school closing. That was riding on a lot of their minds right now, but that’s okay. I feel for these girls.”
But that one bad inning sealed the Lady Rappites’ doom.
Moore thanked the fans for their support and thanked Shawn Worman for hiring him as a youth league coach in 2005.
“If Shawn Worman hadn’t asked me to be a coach seven years ago, I wouldn’t be doing this right now, Moore said.
Last week’s game was Moore’s last as a high school or youth softball coach. His teams went 43-5 in Rural Girls’ softball, while the Lady Rappites won 11 games during his high school tenure.
Moore thanked everyone for their support over the years.