County Softball

Comeback Athenians notch first win

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LINDEN – Crawfordsville softball coach Brad Clark admires the hard-working effort his team puts forth on a daily basis despite losing their first 18 contests of the season.

A winning attitude despite a losing season.

There was no losing on Tuesday night though.

Down to their final out, Crawfordsville came from behind to beat county and conference rival North Montgomery 7-5 in 8 innings for its first win of the season.

“I keep telling our girls, you know they keep showing up every day and work and we haven’t had a lot of success this season,” Clark said. “but they show up and work every single day and I told them that if they keep doing that we would find a way and something positive would come out of this season and that just says a lot about them.”

The big hit in the eighth inning came from Kearston Hutchens — driving in Halle Elliott after Elliott reached with two outs on an infield single and stole second. The duo was a combined 0-5 with four strikeouts leading up to the final at-bat.

“The thing about Kearston is she has a ton of confidence, so striking out three times, I still have confidence that she’s going to go up swinging in a big situation like that,” Clark said. “That’s an experienced varsity athlete that came up big in a big moment.”

Hutchens’ hit broke the 5-5 tie, while Jessica Tribble drove her in with a third two-out hit to make it 7-5.

North Montgomery (3-14) scored first with a run in the bottom of the first, while Piper Ramey allowed just one hit and struck out six Athenian hitters through the first three innings.

“Piper started out strong and seemed very focused early on,” North Montgomery coach Rob Earley said.

The freshman recorded 14 strikeouts, but as the innings went on, Crawfordsville timed up the Charger ace pitcher.

Laine Schlicher reached on an error and scored in the fourth for Crawfordsville’s first run, but North Montgomery responded with a run to go back ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the inning after Ramey reached on an error.

The Chargers tacked on two more in the fifth to make it 4-1. Crawfordsville’s response was a three-run sixth, including extra-base hits from Olivia Reed and Brooklyn Mills.

North Montgomery nudged back ahead 5-4 in the last half of the sixth when Blair Nichols drove in Rachel Smith with a two-out single.

Down to their final out in the seventh, Reed drew a walk to keep the Athenians’ hopes alive — before freshman Celeste Moore drove her in with a double.

“That was a heartbreaker there, we put a lot of time and energy into this,” Earley added. “You have to play a complete game and we didn’t.”

The unsung hero from start to finish for Crawfordsville though came from the circle and right arm of Emma Buser. The freshman allowed just three earned runs on seven hits — walking three (two were intentional), and struck out four.

“That’s a special performance from a freshman to go eight innings, 120 pitches. Just throwing strikes there. I know she was tired, but she kept fighting through it,” Clark added.

North Montgomery visits Crawfordsville tonight at 5:30 p.m.

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