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Barron, Zehr lift Crawford over No. 7 NH

May 21, 2008
It was Senior Day at North Harrison last Wednesday before the Lady Cats' game with visiting Crawford County, but it was two Lady Pack seniors, Chelsey Barron with her bat and Alicia Zehr with her glove, who lifted their team to a 3-2 upset win over the seventh-ranked Lady Cats.

"Yeah, we definitely needed a win there," Crawford coach Lonnie Presley said. "They're 19-4. We're now 14-12, which helps big time. More than anything, we're going into the sectional with a big win, and this proves to the girls we can play with anybody in it, if we just come to play."

Crawford senior Alicia Zehr had two big catches against host North Harrison, including this game-ending, diving catch in the bottom of the seventh to seal a 3-2 win for the Lady Pack. (Photo by Wade Bell)
North Harrison coach Ron Mitchell said the loss was a stinger.

"That's a good word for it," he said. "To me, we just didn't show a whole lot of heart. Once we got tired, we were tired, period. It's not an excuse. We know we can play better than that."

North Harrison was coming into the game off of a loss at Jasper and a conference win at Brownstown, getting in late from both games. The Lady Cats, however, got on the board Wednesday, as Kayla Lambert, who was hit by a pitch and stole both second and took third on a Crawford overthrow, scored on a Mary Robertson sacrifice.

Following a dry second inning for both teams, Crawford evened things up in the third. Kim Holzbog looped a single and then went to second on an illegal pitch by Jessica Kaufman. Kayla Parr put down a one-out sacrifice bunt to move Holzbog to third. Barron then looped a single to tie the game at 1.

"We just came to play for once," Presley said.

Neither team scored again until Crawford came to bat in the top of the sixth inning. Following a lead-off hit by Barron, Amanda Toney ripped a long one-out double and Zehr followed with an infield single to score Barron. With Christy Luttrell batting, Zehr stole second. Luttrell grounded out, but Toney scored to give Crawford a 3-1 cushion going into the seventh as North Harrison again went scoreless in the bottom of the inning.

Crawford threatened again in the top of the seventh as Chelsea Benham singled and went to second on a Lady Cat misfire. The Lady Pack failed to convert, however, leaving the door open for the Lady Cats.

With one out, North Harrison got something to yell about as Sasha Grangier ripped a triple to right-centerfield. It looked like things were going to get busy as Lambert followed with a single to score Grangier and put the tying run onboard. Robertson also reached on safely as Crawford committed an error.

Kayla Waynescott struck out, but Brooke Auberry still had a chance to knock in the winning runs. However, Crawford's Alicia Zehr made the catch of the game on an Auberry foul ball along the left field foul line, diving to the ground to get her glove under the ball and preserving the 3-2 win for the Lady Pack.

Presley said he has been with Zehr on defense.

"She made two awesome catches, and she made another catch I didn't know if she was going to get to or not," he said. "She played really well in the outfield."

"She stole that base hit off Brandi Auberry," Mitchell said of an earlier Zehr sliding catch that took a hit from his senior. "Brandi stroked that ball good, and that girl just picked it up. I thought she wasn't going to catch it, but she made a good play. Jessey (McConnell) thought it was going to drop too, but she got too far off (third) and could not make a good tag-up to go home. We missed some opportunities to score. You can't do that."

Crawford finished with six hits, led by Barron, who went three-for-three. From the mound, Parr struck out five Lady Cats, walked two and hit one. Crawford committed two errors and left six runners on base.

North Harrison finished with four hits, including two for extra bases, but also made three errors. Kaufman struck out nine Lady Pack batters.

Mitchell said he thought Grangier's triple was going to get things going for his team in the seventh inning.

"It didn't happen," he said. "We got runners on and got Grangier across the plate with a slap and got another runner on with an error. Then, we just died. That was with only one out. That was with two runners on first and second and couldn't get them across the plate."

Presley said the win is a big boost for his team to take into this week's sectional.

"It couldn't have come at a better time for us," he said. "Good teams like that, that's the way you've got to play, to win. That's what we want. … We can be in the final game as good as anybody. Anything can happen in one game. Like here, one game, anything can happen. Just give us a chance. We'll be ready to go."

Mitchell now must get his team ready mentally to bounce back for the tournament.

"You've got a mature team here that it shouldn't be a factor," he said. "They should be ready to play the minute they step on that field. That's the way I look at it. No loss is a good loss. It's not good. There's no way around it.

"They're down tonight," he said. "It's Senior Night, so it's hard on them. They'll bounce back. They're a tough bunch and they know I won't be happy, so they'll be ready."

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