April 03, 2019North Harrison's new girls' softball coach Haley Book had one plan for her team coming into the 2019 spring season and that was to be the more aggressive team on the field. Aggressive from the pitching circle, aggressive with the bats, aggressive running the bases, aggressive with their voices — aggressive everything was their plan. The Borden Lady Braves were the first ones to feel the heat, and they turned to ashes as the Lady Cats began their season with a 31-0 win.
"The girls came out and just attacked the ball," Book said after her team gave Borden a good scalding. "They were aggressive. They were aggressive on the bases. We've been working on that for weeks. It's an aggressive mindset."
North Harrison pitcher Ashton Blackburn began her aggressiveness by throwing strikes and gunning down Borden's first three batters.
When the Lady Cats took to their bats, an explosion of runs came with them. Isabella Gerlach walked, stole second and third, and went to home on a passed ball for the Lady Cats' first run.
North Harrison freshman Brianna Fawver gets a high-five from coach Haley Book after hitting her second home run of the day in the Lady Cats' 31-0 win over visiting Borden.
Borden then committed three straight errors on North Harrison's next three batters, with Kaitlynn Crone scoring on one of the errors for a 2-0 lead. With Kendall Beyerle at the plate, Blackburn and Ingle would advance to score on a host of passed balls and wild pitches. Beyerle followed that with the Lady Cats' first home run of the season.
That was just the start of the Lady Cats' rampage. With two outs and a runner on base, freshman Brianna Fawver smashed a deep shot to left field. Fawver's speed around the bases outmatched Borden's speed to get the ball in, and the freshman earned a two-run, inside-the-park home run.
Gerlach showed a big stick, as well, with a solo homer. North Harrison's bats battered the Lady Braves with more hits, including four straight for extra bases. By the time the barrage had ended, the Lady Cats had 14 runs on the board in just the first inning.
Blackburn kept the Lady Braves off balance from the pitching circle, with Borden going three up and out again in the second.
North Harrison followed that with nine more runs in the bottom of the inning on six hits, three of those flying for triples, good for a 23-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, Borden finally found a little better timing with their bats with two hits but left both runners standing.
North Harrison continued to dominate with their bats in the third and fourth for a 31-0 advantage and eventual win.
"The girls have been working their butts off in practice," Book said. "They've been swinging well, and it showed tonight. They adjusted well to the different pitching that came in. The last girl here threw a little quicker than the first two, and they adjusted well. I couldn't be more proud of them."
The Lady Cats finished the day with 20 hits, including 13 for extra bases. Emily Ingle had four, Gerlach had three and Crone, Grace Schroeder, Jaden Wingler, Mallory Ness, Beyerle and Fawver had two each.
North Harrison threw three pitchers for eight strikeouts and no walks. The Lady Cats had no errors and left three runners on base. North Harrison had 11 steals for the 4-1/2 innings, five better than their goal of six per game.
"That's our mindset," Book said. "I want North Harrison softball to be known as an aggressive team, on the bases, on defense, pitching, catching, everything. For the whole round, we're an aggressive team."
Book said her freshman class, which includes Fawver and Gerlach, is impressive and will add a lot to the team and seasons down the road.
"I've got a great freshmen class," she said. "I've been telling them, 'Don't think like a freshman. You're not a freshman here. We're overall equal here. Have that mindset that you have in travel ball and any other league you guys play in. Just come out here and play your best.' They've been playing this game for years. Why is it any different now?"
Borden finished with four hits for its five times to the plate. The Lady Braves had five errors and left three of their four runners on base. The Lady Braves threw three pitchers for one strikeout and 10 walks.
"I have an aggressive mindset as a coach, to put their trust in me when they're on the bases," Book said. "If they put their trust in me, then, if we happen to run out in an inning, that's on me. That's one thing we're getting there. They did great tonight, and we'll just get better from here."
Borden 000 00 - 0 4 5
North Harrison (14)93 5x - 31 20 0
W-Ashton Blackburn. L-Hayden Martin. 1B-Crone (NH), Ingle (NH) 2, Schroeder (NH), Wingler (NH), Bellou (B), Martin (B), Gerlach (NH), Ness (NH), Magallanes (B); 2B-Beyerle (NH), Schroeder (NH), Wingler (NH), Ingle (NH), Ness (NH); 3B-Ness (NH), Gerlach (NH), Crone (NH), Ingle (NH); HR-Beyerle (NH), Fawver (NH) 2, Gerlach (NH). Records-North Harrison 1-0, Borden 0-1.