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Lady Cats unload on rival Corydon

April 22, 2009
A day after suffering a disheartening, 13-0, five-inning loss to the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders, the North Harrison Lady Cats bounced back Thursday to earn a Mid-Southern Conference win at Corydon Central.

North Harrison senior Kayla Lambert grimmaces as a throw gets by her when Corydon Central’s Shelby Short steals second base. Photo by Wade Bell
"We had a blooper last night (at Floyd)," North Harrison coach John Lambert said. "We laid an egg. I don't know what caused that. Maybe they were looking forward to tonight. Maybe the weather conditions threw them off a little bit. It was different. The JV played first last night and the varsity played second. Maybe that affected our focus. We'll try to overcome that."

Corydon Central got on top first in the bottom of the first inning. Savanah Cesar, who walked and advanced to second base on a passed ball and third on a Shelby Short sacrifice bunt, scored on a Jenna Keinsley single. With Samantha Schmelz at the plate, courtesy runner Katie Hayes, who had stolen second and third bases, crossed the plate on a passed ball to put the Lady Panthers up 2-0.

The pendulum began to swing to North Harrison in the top of the third inning. Hilary Fonda grabbed two bases on a Corydon error, then Brittini Sears singled to push Fonda across the plate. Moments later, with two outs, Mary Robertson got a blooper to fall to score Sears to tie the game.

"We've got some kids that are playing really well, but we've got six kids that, up until this week, had never played varsity softball before," Lambert said. "It's a big change. Everything's quicker. The kids run faster … You throw harder and you've got to run as hard as you can. It's just a different level of ball."

Neither team scored again until the top of the fifth inning, when the Lady Cats had their biggest inning of the game. After reaching base on a fielder's choice, Kayla Lambert stole second and third bases. Infield and bunt singles by Alyssa McAfee and Mary Robertson, respectively, loaded the bases for Sasha Grangier, who went deep to center field for a sacrifice fly that scored Lambert and gave the Lady Cats the lead.

The Lady Cats were far from done, as Amber Longest went to first on a third-strike passed ball. Robertson, who had stolen second earlier, went to third and then scored on the play. After Jessica Kaufman walked to load the bases, freshman Cassie Wagner looped a single for two more runs and a 6-2 Lady Cat advantage.

The Lady Cats added a final run when Wagner got her third RBI of the day with a single to score courtesy runner Miranda Whelan in the top of the seventh for the 7-2 final.

"Tonight, the effort we got out of 10 kids that played for us tonight was outstanding," Lambert said. "They didn't quit. We dropped down 2-0 early in the first inning and they just kept battling, so that's what we're asking. We're asking for a lot of effort. We're asking for a lot of heart and we're asking for every game to show improvement."

North Harrison finished with nine hits, with Sears, Robertson and Wagner getting two each. Kaufman, from the pitcher's circle, struck out six Lady Panthers while walking just one. The Lady Cats made three errors and left seven runners stranded.

"I think you have to go up and down the order because even kids that made outs hit the ball well tonight," Lambert said. "I'm really pleased with that because the (Jenna) Keinsley kid is a super pitcher. She's one of the best pitchers in this area. There's no doubt."

"We hit a lot of balls really hard that Corydon made some really nice plays on," he said. "We had some kids tonight that normally get two or three hits a game for us that may not have had a hit tonight."

Corydon Central finished with just two hits. Keinsley had a good day pitching, striking out 10 and walking just one. The Lady Panthers committed two errors and left three runners stranded.

"We're breaking in," Lambert said. "They're not all freshmen. We've got sophomores. There's no juniors in that mix. The seniors are leading us. They've been great. They're talking. They're teaching and the kids look up to them. Just like tonight, we get things going, and the seniors came up big.

"We've got an All-State caliber shortstop (Kayla Lambert). We've got all-conference kids looking around. We beat a nice Clarksville team last week. We beat a nice Corydon team tonight."

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