By Dave Pearce
It’s been a long week for the North Posey girls’ softball team and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Despite a long week, the girls managed to pull out two wins in three games. The ‘long’ part comes from playing back-to-back extra-inning games this week.
On Tuesday evening at Tecumseh, the Lady Vikings and Lady Braves were engaged in a ‘semi-state-type’ game that went 12 innings before anyone could put a run on the board. In the end, it would be the Braves who would score in the bottom of the twelfth inning to claim an important Pocket Athletic Conference win. But Coach Gary Gentil had nothing but praise for his troops.
“Both pitchers were really on,” Gentil said of the long game. “Hailee (Elderkin) was matching (Tecumseh pitcher) Summers and as a freshman, she won state. We were in a battle for many innings and each team got a runner to third base one time and to second base once. And then in the twelfth inning, Tecumseh got a couple of hits in there and got the run across the plate.”
The Tecumseh win was classic softball as the lead-off batter reached first base and a sacrifice moved her into scoring position. They had an infield hit that shortstop Kelsey Owen came up with that kept the runners from advancing. Then, on the second sacrifice of the inning, the batter drove center fielder Taylor Patton to the fence where she came up with the catch but was unable to keep the run from scoring to give the Braves the win.
The Lady Vikings are under the leadership now of a pitcher who was the back-up pitcher at the beginning of the season. An injury to Ashley Schoor forced Hailee Elderkin to grow up fast and has she ever.
“Hailee did an excellent job,” Gentil said of the young hurler. “She was hitting her spots in the twelfth inning as well as she was in the seventh inning. Both teams played well. Their coach (Gordon Wood) said it reminded him of one of those tournament games where no one wanted to give up. It was just fun to be around.”
But the Lady Vikings were able to come back the very next evening and play another extra-inning game, beating the Southridge Raiders by that identical score of 1-0. That meant that the Viking offense produced just one run in 20 straight innings while the defense gave up only one run in 20 innings.
“In the top of the eighth inning, Taylor Franklin got a walk and we sacrificed her over,” Gentil explained. “Megan Baehl drew a walk and Anna Will got a big single that scored Taylor from second.”
The Vikings were able to hold the Raiders scoreless.
Against Tecumseh, the Vikings had three hits. Baehl and Will each had singles and Courtney Crowder had a double. At Southridge, Owen, Baehl, Will, Haylee Harness, and Alli Graff had hits.
With senior Amy Brandenstein out with a concussion, designated hitter Taylor Franklin has been brought into the line-up at first base.
“Amy was out this week and they think it could be three to four weeks now,” Gentil said. “We’re just not sure.”
The Vikings finally got to play at home on Friday night against Vincennes Lincoln and fought their way through the long week to preserve a 5-4 over one of the better teams in the Big Eight Conference.
“They were a very good hard-hitting team and Hailee pitched pretty well but we had a few more errors than we have been having,” Gentil said. “We had been really clean in the field the first two games of the week and turned around and had four errors against Vincennes.
The Alices got on the board first in the second inning but in the fourth inning, the Viking bats came alive and scored three runs.
“Taylor Patton’s bat really came alive and she ended up going two-for-three,” Gentil said. “Taylor Franklin seemed to get her bat going again after a couple of games where she didn’t seem to be hitting very well. She had a double against them in a key situation.”
The Vikings added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and made that stand up for the 5-4 win.
This week the Lady Vikings will be squaring off against not only opponent but also Mother Nature as rain is forecast for Monday through Thursday.
Tuesday the team is scheduled to play their final conference game at Pike Central while they travel to Wood Memorial on Friday. On Saturday, the Jasper Wildcats will come to North Posey for the Lady Vikings’ senior night.
The week leaves the Vikings at 3-4 in the conference and 8-11 overall.
“Things seem to be going a lot better for us and we played three intense ballgames this week,” Gentil said. “It was nice to have a winning week.”
By Dave Pearce
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