Western’s softball team went to a four-team gathering at Noblesville without ace pitcher Erika Beeler, who was taking the SAT. The Panthers still came away with victories over Lawrence Central (5-4) and Lawrence North (9-6) thanks to a pair of younger pitchers.
Against Lawrence Central, freshman Lexy Sanders fired a complete game. She allowed seven hits, struck out nine and walked one. Abby Renken smacked a three-run double in the first inning to put the Panthers on control and Caitlyn O’Neal had a two-out RBI single in the fifth to make it 5-3. Brooke Strunk chipped in a pair of singles.
“Lexy pitched her first seven-inning varsity game. Pitched a really good game against a strong team,” Western coach Jim Clouse said.
Against Lawrence North, the Panthers had to dig out of an early hole. The Wildcats scored six runs in the first inning. Western changed pitchers with the bases loaded and no outs. Sophomore Cassidy Roller allowed a double that made it 6-0, then held the Wildcats scoreless the rest of the game. She worked seven scoreless innings, scattered six hits, struck out 10 and walked none.
“That was Cassidy’s first varsity appearance,” Clouse said. “She gets 10 strikeouts and holds them scoreless the rest of the way. She pitched a fantastic game and allowed us to chip away and get back in the game.”
After battling back for a 6-all tie, the Panthers scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Jenna Wiechmann had a leadoff double and Caitlyn O’Neal followed with an RBI single for a 7-6 lead. Later in the inning, Renken had a two-run single.
Carley O’Neal went 3 for 4 with a double in the Game 2 win. Strunk was 2 for 4 with a pair of extra-base hits and two RBI. Caitlyn O’Neal and Renken both went 2 for 4.