BY TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Eastern’s softball squad built a 5-0 lead through six innings, only to have Taylor rally for four runs before the Class 2A No. 9-ranked Comets were able to close the door for a 5-4 win Saturday in a non-conference game at Taylor.
Maddie Vint put Eastern (4-3) on the board with an RBI single in the first, and Brooke Stout added an RBI single in the second.
The Comets pushed across three more runs in the sixth. Vint added an RBI double to her day, while Quinlyn Hochstedler and Ashlynn Hochstedler each connected for RBI singles to put Eastern up 5-0.
Taylor (2-2) rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the sixth to make things interesting. Cami Hansen and Taylor Mosier each belted two-RBI doubles before Eastern starter Abby Oyler was able to strand the tying run at third, which would eventually help preserve the win for the visitors.
“I was glad to get the win,” Eastern coach Jerry Haines said. “Taylor is much improved. They were young last year, but [former coach] Shane Arnold helped move them along, and [current coach] April Johnston has done a nice job with them. Their pitching was solid and their defense was good. We had trouble putting hits together, and were fortunate to get those runs in the sixth. It was a good game.”
Oyler struck out eight and walked one in the complete game. She allowed five hits, but none of Taylor’s runs were earned.
Cami Hansen suffered the loss in the circle for the Titans, allowing four runs – three earned – in 5 1/3 innings off work. She allowed seventh hits, struck out four and walked one. Rachel Hafley pitched the remainder, allowing one hit.
“I was pleased,” Johnston said. “We just had three mental errors that cost us early, and if we take those away, we’re right in the ballgame. We waited until the sixth to get going offensively, and I told the girls we need to start sooner. But, I was glad to see us continue to battle and put four on the board. We just couldn’t get the tying run across. But, we made it a game, and I’m happy with that.”
NORTHWESTERN 7, LAFAYETTE JEFF 2
The Purple Tigers (3-1) won their third straight, all of which have come on the road.
Crystal Metz continued her steady work in the circle, tossing a complete-game three-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk. Neither run was earned.
Kelsey Richards had an RBI single in the first. Kindra Gingerich swatted a two-RBI double in the second. Kaitlyn Catron added an RBI single in the third, and Metz helped her own cause with an RBI, sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Gingerich and Richards were both 2-for-4 at the plate on the day.
“I’m really proud of the girls on the infield,” NW coach Jordan Dyer said. “We started out a little rough. They got their runs in the first and second innings off our mistakes. But, all of them bounced back and got settled down a little bit. They really recovered well. Gingerich made some good catches in center on flyouts that Jeff got ahold of. Metz moved the ball well. She only had five strikeouts, but we had quite a few putouts behind her. So, all-round it was a very good day for the team.”
Western 20, Wabash 0, 5 innings
Lexy Sanders, Cali Shepherd and Brooke Strunk combined for a five-hit shut out as the Panthers (3-0) shut out the Apaches.
Sanders, who was the winning pitcher, allowed one hit and one walk with four strikeouts. Shepherd gave up one hit, and struck out one, and Strunk finished the game with two strikeouts.
Strunk also led at the plate with three singles and a double with four RBIs. Jenna Wiechmann added two singles, a double and two RBIs. Kiersten Durbin contributed with two singles and two RBIs, and Abby Renken added two singles.
“It was a good game,” Western coach Jim Clouse said. “We got all 16 players in, and a good way to head into next week.”
Cass 11, Frontier 4Frontier 3, Cass 1
In the first game, Hailey Holt led Cass with a single and double. Ashton McClain added two singles and Alexa Humerickhouse had a double.
Cheyenne Dittmaier was the winning pitcher. Dittmaier allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
In the second game, Savannah Thompson was the losing pitcher. Thompson allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits and struck out three.
TWIN LAKES INVITE
Western took fifth as a team in Saturday’s tournament held at Tippecanoe Valley CC in Monticello with 339 strokes, behind champion Culver Academy (318), Lebanon (319), Harrison (329) and Peru (336).
Lebanon’s Matt Shear grabbed medalist honors with a 2-over 74.
Tyler White led the Panthers with a 79 to take fifth individually. Ryan Rossi added an 83 for Western, while Brennan Raines shot an 86 and Austin Smith carded a 91.
“It was a good field but we have to get better,” Western coach Steve Hoppes said. “We found out we have to get better to compete with the Culvers and the Lebanons. Those are good squads, and Peru played really well. They’re a sectional opponent so we have to get better, and the kids agreed.”
Cameron Smith led Peru with a 78 to take fourth overall. Isaac Badry carded an 84 for the Bengal Tigers, while Austin Finicle and Kyle Emilio both shot 87s.
KOKOMO 4, HARRISON 3HARRISON 11, KOKOMO 1
The Wildkats split with the Raiders at home to move to 4-2 on the season.
In the opener, Chase Pearce plated Isaac Turner with an RBI single to give Kokomo a walk-off win.
S.A. Dunn and Bo Baker both went 2-for-3 at the plate in the opener. Baker had a double and a pair of RBIs.
Adam Bartholomew started and worked six innings, surrendering three runs, two earned, on two hits and three walks while fanning five. David Partida worked a perfect seventh to pick up his second win in as many days.
In the nightcap, the Raiders broke the game open with a six-run fourth.
“In the first game, it was nice to battle back and play well,” Kokomo coach Tim Weeks said. “Bartholomew did a nice job on the hill, and Partida came in and did a nice job as well, and wound up getting the win. The kids never quit. In the second game, we played a lot of kids who hadn’t gotten a lot of playing time, and it was nice to see them get a chance, but Harrison bounced back and got us.”
EASTERN 8, NORTH MIAMI 2
The Comets got their offense in gear in the late stages of Saturday’s game in Denver, and Braden Gibson was able to hold the Warriors down despite six walks.
Gibson worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits while striking out five. Taylor Shallenberger worked the final 2 2/3 scoreless on three hits and a pair of strikeouts.
Austin Chase got Eastern (3-1) on the board in the fourth with a solo home run. Blaine Dahl added a two-RBI double later in the frame.
Matt Simmerman stroked an RBI double in the fifth and later scored on a passed ball.
Cree Johnston connected for a two-RBI single in the seventh, and also motored home on a passed ball.
Simmerman and Dahl both finished the day with three hits.
“Braden came out and struggled the first inning with three walks, but he kind of settled down and got in the groove, and got us 4 1/3 quality innings,” Eastern coach Nick Sale said. “Shallenberger got us out of a jam with two on in the fifth. We got some timely hits and Austin had the big homer. It was a collective team effort, and I couldn’t be happier with the kids right now.”
NORTHWESTERN 5, MISSISSINEWA 2
Dylan Sheely scattered eight hits in a complete-game effort on the bump in Gas City to lead the Purple Tigers to their second straight win after an 0-3 start.
Sheeley added six strikeouts and finished the day without surrendering a walk.
Keegan Downey put Northwestern on the board with an RBI, sacrifice fly in the first before the Indians rallied for a pair of runs in the third.
An RBI single from Jake Vent highlighted a two-run fourth for the Tigers as they took the lead for good. Logan Macaluso added an RBI double in a two-run seventh for the victors.
Evan Matlock added a pair of singles and a pair of stolen bases for Northwestern.
“It was great to see our guys coming back from [Mississinewa] scoring a couple runs and responding instead of getting down,” NW coach Kyle Beachy said. “That was big for us, especially after having lost three in a row to start the season. Our pitching has been outstanding. We’re throwing a lot of strikes and getting ahead of hitters. Our defense has been outstanding, as well, not making any errors behind them.”
CC 9, Taylor 0Taylor 9, CC 8
In the opening game at Clinton Central, Bulldog ace Jake Scott threw a one-hitter, giving up just a double to Taylor’s Darian Stone. Scott struck out 11 and surrendered just two walks.
Cole Schroeder was Taylor’s losing pitcher. CC didn’t score in the opening three frames, then put up nine runs in the next three.
“It was a situation where they pitched a stud basically — Jake Scott’s gonna go to Coastal Carolina on a baseball scholarship. He just really totally dominated us,” Taylor coach Brent Owens said.
In the closing game, Taylor put seven runs on the board in the top of the first inning, and two in the seventh. Those two were vital as CC rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh and had two runners on when the final out was recorded.
Austin Douglas led Taylor in the closer with a 4-for-5 effort with a double and three singles. Stone and Schroeder each had two singles, and Jonathan Mahoney doubled and singled.
Noah Poe was the winning pitcher, throwing the first four innings and departing with a 7-3 lead. Mahoney threw the last three innings to close out the win.
“Clinton Central kept creeping back but we held on to get the win,” Owens said. “[In the seventh] they had runners on first and second and hit a ball down the left-field line that was foul by a foot. That would have beat us 10-9. And if we don’t get those two runs in the seventh they would have beat us 8-7. It was definitely critical that we got those two runs in the seventh.”
MACONAQUAH 12, TC 1MACONAQUAH 3, TC 2
The Braves swept the Trojans in Saturday’s doubleheader to improve to 5-2 on the season.
In the opener, Josh Holmes worked a complete game two-hitter with nine strikeouts. Tri-Central’s run was unearned.
Holmes and Kade Dennis led Maconaquah’s 12-hit attack with a double, single and two RBIs apiece. Jorge Cortez, Will Feller and Josh Fewell each added a pair of singles.
In the nightcap, Taylor Lamble took a no-hitter into the sixth before Fewell came on with one out in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third. Fewell struck out the Trojans’ final two hitters to nail down the save.
Fewell and Dylan Chance each smacked a double in Game 2.
Cass 6, Covenant 4Speedway 2, Cass 1
Cass (4-2) defeated Convent Christian in the opener, but lost to Speedway in the second game.
In the win over CC, Jake Wilburn led Cass with a single and triple and Ty Stover added a single and double. Josh Rankert was the winning pitcher, and Dakota Hammond picked up the save.
In the loss, Cass scored its only run in the first inning, Speedway added its second run in the second inning and that was the game.
Wilburn was the losing pitcher. Both runs were unearned. He also led at the plate with a single and double.
“Wilburn pitched a tremendous game,” Cass coach Greg Marschand said.
HAMILTON HTS. RELAYS
Guerin Catholic won the team title, topping the host Huskies 103-85. Yorktown (73), Eastern (68.5) and Western (57.5) rounded out the top five.
Western’s Matt Grider set a new meet record in winning the 3,200, crossing the line in 9:40.05 to break his own record, set last year, by 16 seconds.
Brett Boswell added a second-place finish in the shot put with a heave of 45-9, and Jacob Bradshaw finished second in the pole vault for the Panthers, clearing 11-6.
“I thought Matt really showed he’s coming back in the 3,200,” Western coach Marvin Boswell said. “He looked really strong. By far, that’s the best race he’s had in a long time. Looking at the day as a whole, six of our conference teams were there, and we finished third out of that group. So, we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and figure out where we can pull a few more points from. It’s a little frustrating to not do as well as we would’ve liked against conference teams.”
Eastern’s 4x800 relay team of Lewis Duke, Kevin Zheng, Nick Handy and Joshua Sommers took top honors in 8:24.81.
Also for the Comets, Lewis Duke won the 1,600 in 4:34.81, Will Porter was second in the 100 dash in :11.51, Sommers finished second in the 400 in :52.19, and Riley Haupert finished second in the 300 hurdles in :42.52.
“I’m happy with the way things went [Saturday],” Eastern coach Austin Roark said. “We had some really good performances and guys stepped up. Lewis had to leave early so we missed him in a couple events, and Papee [Byers] is banged up. Also, the 4x100 team dropped the baton in the lead in the final exchange, and that’s a 12-point swing had we gotten the baton across the finish line. So, with everything that happened and to score that many points, I’m good with it.”
Maconaquah’s K.J. Walton was a double winner, taking top honors in the 200 in :22.22, as well as the 400 in :51.34. His winning time in the 200 was a new meet record.
Cass’ Cody Campbell topped the field in the discus with a heave of 140-10. And, Tipton’s Chase Bess won the 300 hurdles in :41.53.
HAMILTON HTS. RELAYS
Guerin Catholic took top team honors with 87 points, followed by the host Huskies (76), Yorktown (73.5), Western Boone (71) and Cass (61) to round out the top five. Eastern took sixth with 52 points, and Western finished eighth with 47.
Eastern’s Avery Ewing won the 400 (1:02.53) and finished second in the 800 (2:34.41). Danielle Reed took second in the shot put for the Comets with a heave of 32-3 ½.
Western’s Nicole Hampshire took top honors in the 3,200 in 12:09.01. Erin Knepley added a second-place showing for the Panthers in the 1,600 in 5:39.37, while Western’s 4x800 relay team of Hampshire, Knepley, Emily Mullilns and Reagan Ritchie finished second at 10:26.04.
Maconaquah’s Maysie Hewitt won the pole vault, clearing 9-6.
And, Cass’ Maci Maupin won the long jump, clearing a meet-record 17-0 for top honors.
Kokomo finished in fourth place with a score of 71 points. South Bend Adams was the overall winner with 105.5 points.
The Kats placed in every event, except for the 100-meter hurdles.
“We were projected to score between 75-85 points, and we were really close to that goal,” Kokomo coach K.O. Jackson said. “Not placing in the hurdles really hurt, but we had some ladies who stepped up emptied their tanks and put some food on the table for us. It’s been a while since we’ve had a distance runner place so we are all pleased with Cin’s Andrews effort. She put in four miles of running.”
The Kats’ Summer Blackamore was a double winner. Blackamore set a new meet record in the discus with a distance of 127-feet, 6-inches. She was also tops in the shot put (41-3).
Kokomo’s Deju Miller won the high jump (5-0) and Lana Pham was second with the same height.