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Lady Cats smack down No. 7 Eastern

May 14, 2008
The host North Harrison Lady Cats won a royal smack-down over Mid-Southern Conference rival Class 2A No. 7 Eastern Lady Musketeers, 5-3, last Tuesday. It was a game where the intensity level was high enough that staying focused was paramount.

"That's really showing your maturity when you go seven innings and you don't make a mistake that costs you a game," North Harrison coach Ron Mitchell said. "You think about back when they were freshmen and sophomores and the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, it was hard to keep that focus on the game. As we have got a little farther into the season, the focus is there."

Eastern catcher Jordan Basham, right, has her feet slip out from under as she tries to catch North Harrison's Jenna McConnell in a run down. (Photo by Wade Bell)
The Lady Cats put their defense to work in the first inning by pulling a double play after Jordan Basham hit a line shot to Brooke Auberry. In the bottom of the inning, North Harrison used its bats with three straight two-out singles, Kayla Waynescott scoring following an Eastern error.

"Kayla Waynescott got up there and battled that girl that first time at bat," Mitchell said. "There was I don't know how many pitches and she still got a hit off of her. She battled her again the next time. Jennesey (McConnell) battled her that one time. They stayed focused."

Eastern matched North Harrison in the top of the second. Stephenie Eubank hit a lead-off single and then went to third on two passed balls. Andrea Hornung smacked a double to score Eubank, and the scored was tied at 1.

North Harrison lit up the bats again in the bottom of the second. With one out, Ashley Evesalge and Sasha Grangier reached safely on two Eastern errors. Kayla Lambert reached safely on a blown fielder's choice, to load the bases. Another Eastern error allowed Mary Robertson to reach first and enabled North Harrison to score two runs. Waynescott then singled to score Lambert, and North Harrison went up 4-1.

"The one thing is, when you start getting runners on base and start loading those bases up with one out or something, you get them shook up," Mitchell said. "They got shook up several times. I know they had about five girls up there that were seniors."

Eastern answered again in the top of the third. With one out, Melody Dalton stole first on a third-strike passed ball. Laura Purlee lined to centerfield, but Basham looped a single to start another scoring threat. That threat became reality when Eubank smashed a double to score Dalton and Basham to tighten the game up at 4-3.

"They reminded me of the Corydon teams of 10 years ago," Mitchell said of Eastern. "They were just big girls, and they hit the ball. They made some good hits, and they just got rattled every time we got some runners on base. That last time we got up there, in that last inning where we scored that run, I told them, if you get runners on base, you get them shook. I don't think they're used to having runners on base."

Neither team scored again till the bottom of the sixth. Grangier and Lambert singled, then Robertson hit into a fielder's choice, Grangier tagging on the play. Waynescott singled to load the bases, then Auberry singled to score Lambert for a 5-3 lead.

The Lady Cats held Eastern to one baserunner in the seventh, and North Harrison had the 5-3 win.

"I was really happy with my outfield," Mitchell said. "I got really fired up when they just gelled. When Jennesey came in behind her, when Kayla went after those two balls, that kind of stuff just fires me up. When they play stuff like that, I love to watch.

"The infield, I expect them to be good. This is most of them's fourth year except for Mary (Robertson). The outfield now is starting to gel and look a lot better. Hopefully, it's all coming together at the right time."

North Harrison finished with eight hits, Waynescott getting three singles and Auberry adding two hits. Pitcher Jessica Kaufman struck out three Eastern batters and walked none. The Lady Cats committed just one error.

"It took a wicked hop," Mitchell said. "That was a hard error there. But we're still playing. We're going to play hard every game. It's important to us, at 7-1 (in the MSC), that's going to be outstanding for us. I'm happy with that."

"They don't get rattled," he said. "That's one thing I will say about them. They're very confident in what they're doing. They don't get rattled, and that's another sign of maturity. They don't rush their throws. If you just watch them throw it, they're on the money."

"Evie (Eveslage) tonight made that throw down to second base," he said. "It was on the money. Last night, we had a throw like that. It was perfect and on the money, and the girl never had a chance. It used to be a shooting gallery out there, but now I know once they snag it, they're going to make a good throw.

"It's the same with the outfield. I can tell when they're going to catch it or not. As soon as it's popped and I know it's not in the gap, she's got it and I don't pay attention to it after that. I have a lot of confidence in them and I expect it now."

Eastern also had eight hits, Eubank getting two for the Lady Musketeers. Pitcher Emily Bonnet struck out two Lady Cat batters and walked none. Eastern's biggest problem was errors, as the Lady Musketeers made with six.

"What they have done is pitched the Bonnet girl four innings, then they bring the other girl (Andrea Hornung) in for three," Mitchell said. "They've done that every game that I know of. They didn't bring that other girl in tonight, which kind of surprised me. The Bonnet girl has got a lot of control and she did pepper the plate good. But we were staying and hanging with them, so I'm happy with that."

The Lady Cats came closer to securing second place in the MSC race.

"The higher it is, the better," the Lady Cat coach said. "It's just unfortunate we lost to Corydon."

"We want to keep the momentum going," he said. "I was hoping this week would just keep building that momentum. We've got another week after this to keep the momentum rolling in the sectional as far as we can go. We have the capability, and now we have the maturity. I'm just hoping we can ride it as far as we can."

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