Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

May 9, 2014

SOFTBALL: Comets eke out victory

No. 5 Eastern beats NW in key MIC softball clash

GREENTOWN — The Northwestern-Eastern softball game ended on a bang-bang play at the plate.

It just took a while for that second bang to echo back.

Class 2A No. 5-ranked Eastern scored a 3-2 win with a one-out run in the bottom of the seventh.

Quinlyn Hochstedler started the rally with a single, moved to second on Alyssa Haalck’s sacrifice bunt, and took third on a wild pitch. Ashlyn Hochstedler connected with an infield grounder and the throw home was in time to get Quinlyn Hochstedler.

The Comet runner was called out by the home plate umpire, but after Eastern protested, the umpiring crew ruled the runner safe and that run decided the game. The field umpire was able to see that the ball got away from Northwestern’s catcher on the play at home.

“I saw her drop it,” Northwestern coach Jordan Dyer said. “The ball was on the ground. [The home umpire] couldn’t see it. It was the right call. The throw was there, it was just a bang-bang play.”

Thus ended a thriller between squads that both entered the game 3-0 in the Mid-Indiana Conference. Eastern (14-3 overall) is now tied with Western at 4-0 in the league. Northwestern fell to 15-4, 3-1 in the MIC.

“It was extremely difficult,” Eastern coach Jerry Haines said of the win. “In fact, when they tied it up, I knew it was going to be tough.”

Eastern, which advanced a runner to second or third base every inning, scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to break a scoreless tie. Northwestern answered immediately with two runs in the top of the sixth.

“It was tough because [Northwestern pitcher Crystal] Metz was doing a tremendous job of not giving up the hit that would score the runs, defense was playing well,” Haines said. “A couple times [NW’s defense] went after probably the wrong runners and gave us a chance but we still didn’t take advantage of it.”

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