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Floyd Central third baseman Paige Davis, right, throws out New Albany’s Brittany Kaiser in the second inning of the Lady Highlanders’ 6-0 win. Photo by Wade Bell

Floyd Central hands Lady Dogs first loss

April 20, 2011
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders handed the visiting Lady Dogs of New Albany their first loss of the season in a 6-0 shutout last Tuesday. Armed with some heavy bats, aggressive base running and solid pitching by senior Jordan Batliner, Floyd Central kept New Albany on the ropes for all seven innings for a Hoosier Hills Conference win.

Floyd Central coach Joe Witten wasn't quite so sure about how his team was going to perform after its lackluster infield warm-up session. That's when Batliner took a leadership role and got her team together for a quick meeting before it took the field.

"It's a rivalry," Batliner said she told her teammates. "Come out here and show them who we are. Don't let them give the false impression that they can come out here and do this, how bad they want to. With two girls out, one girl is sick, a captain, and another girl is doing a college speech … just do it all for them."

After New Albany left two runners on base in its first at-bat, the Lady Highlanders put their first two runs on the board. With one out, Paige Davis singled then went to second and third on two passed balls. Batliner then belted a single to score Davis for the first run. With two outs, Samantha Feather ripped a single to score Ruthanna Fritzinger, who was running for Batliner, and the Lady Highlanders took a 2-0 lead.

After scoreless second and third innings, the Lady Highlanders put a third run on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Alex Engleman singled to score Breanna Mayfield.

"When you score runs, you can be a little more aggressive," Witten said. "We were over-zealous a couple of times. Some of our younger girls are still learning to play the base-run principles. That's part of high school. We're here to learn and get that in."

Batliner said she became somewhat more comfortable and relaxed when that third run went on the scoreboard.

"I felt a little comfortable, but I never really take anything for granted anymore," she said. "It was a bit of security for me, but it still wasn't enough."

Floyd Central's biggest inning came in the bottom of the fifth, when the Lady Highlanders put three more runs on the board. Katie Kaiser walked, then a New Albany error allowed Feather to reach second. Marissa Hobson doubled, scoring Kaiser. Mayfield bunted on, but Feather got caught in a rundown for the second out. Engleman singled to score Hobson, and Mayfield then ran for second only to be tagged out. The two runs counted, however, leading to the final 6-0 score.

"It felt good to know, if this is the last time we play New Albany, we ended up with a win," Batliner, who finished with 10 strikeouts, said. "Just to come back and be our rivalry for the last time as seniors, it was awesome."

"They're tricky," Witten said of New Albany. "When they hit the ball on the ground with their slap hitters, they create a problem. Jordan did such a good job of keeping them off base because that's kind of their game. When they get runners on base, they make more things happen."

Floyd Central finished with nine hits and one error, with Hobson cashing in twice at the plate with a single and double and Alex Engleman singling twice. Batliner had three walks besides her 10 strikeouts. Floyd Central left seven runners on base.

"I let our catchers call their game because we want them to learn to read the hitters," Witten said. "Her sister (Taylor) was a freshman and she caught the game, so she got a lot of credit for getting ahead in the count with the fast balls, but she used her curve ball to finish them off a time or two.

"That was a typical Jordan performance. For the year, she's got 50 strikeouts in four outings, and she's only walked six girls. I'm thrilled to death with her."

New Albany was held to just a single hit, had one error and left five runners on base. The Lady Dogs used two pitchers, Brittany Kaiser and Andrea Wright, for three strikeouts, five walks and one hit batter.

"They are always a team that keeps getting better through the year," Witten said of New Albany. "We knew they were 4-0, but sometimes you have to understand not necessarily the competition but who the matchups were. I just think Jordan was a little overpowering for them today. That was one of our better games. We found a couple of areas we need to work on, but, overall, we were very pleased about today."

"It wasn't just her today," he said. "We got other girls to contribute. We had our nine girl get a couple hits and get three RBIs, Alex Engleman. Anytime you get the production from the lower parts of the order like we did, that's a bonus. That's a shot in the arm."

While Floyd Central will not see its county rival again during the regular season, Batliner said she knows they could meet again in the sectional.

"It gives us a little more confidence," she said, "but (we have to) take them like we've never played them before, show them what we have."

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