WRC Softball

Mustangs offense breaks out the long ball


VEEDERSBURG – The Kennedy Space Center can’t match the number of launches from the Fountain Central softball field the last few days.

Three different members of the Mustangs’ team earned frequent flier status as they sent 11 shots over the fence.

The aerial barrage has become a four-game win streak for the Mustangs, as a sweep of North Vermillion last Saturday and another of Seeger over two days this week has FC at 6-5 overall and 3-3 in the Wabash River Conference.

The games over Seeger were run-rule shortened, so the onslaught was intense. It was 23-5 in the first game, which was suspended in the sixth inning Tuesday night and completed Wednesday at FC. The second game was more of the same, as the Mustangs batted only four times in a 19-4 win. There was a double-dip win over North Vermillion last Saturday.

And yes, the wind was blowing out, but several of the dingers needed no help.

Zoe Foxworhty-DeJournett got her first homer of the season in the second inning. The senior was busy all afternoon, reaching base and scoring four times in addition to turning in a solid job at shortstop, leading a zero-error defensive game for FC.

Sami Krout homered in the last inning of the suspended game, and the senior finished her afternoon with two more in the second game, one an opposite field shot that was still going up when it cleared the fence.

“It’s just really exciting,” she said. “I had one home run last year and get three today. This team is so much fun. Watching the growth and improvement as the season has gone on and from last year is just great. We are such good friends and everyone has each other’s back.”

Then there is Kacey Kirkpatrick.

The senior also had three home runs Wednesday. One in the wrap up of the first game and a pair in the second game. Oh yes, both of the Game 2 home runs came in the 12-run third inning, and both came with two runners on base. Two dingers, six RBI – in one inning.

Which gives her seven over the fence shots in the four-game win stretch.

She had four in the first game of the North Vermillion game last Saturday, which extra research discovered tied a state record. She had 9 RBI in that game which is now fourth in the state record book.

She didn’t get any homers in the second game Saturday because she was intentionally walked five times.

And the topping on the cake is that she struck out 13 of the 15 hitters she faced. She got the Game 1 pitching win over Seeger, but yielded the circle to Lillian Bennett, and the sophomore picked up her second win of the season with the Game 2 victory.

“I hit seven home runs all last season,” Kirkpatrick noted with a smile. “I’m seeing the ball well.”

Committed to play softball at Indiana Tech/Ft. Wayne, the Mustangs leader picked up her 100th career hit with her last plate appearance of Game 1.

Her coach filled in a couple details.

“She now has 103 hits, after Game 2,” said FC coach Ric Walke, “and 50 of them are for extra bases. She has 17 home runs, 13 triples and 32 doubles.”

Add your own exclamation point.

Walke and the two (of four) senior leaders were way more excited about everything other than the home runs.

All three noted the four-game win streak. All four noted the error-free second game (Walke several times) and all talked about the team first.

“The chemistry is just so good,” Kirkpatrick said. “I think a big part of it is due to how well our freshmen are playing, especially at the plate. They are just hitting great. Our offense is solid top to bottom, and as a pitcher, that makes my job so much easier knowing that they are going to get a couple runs, and that if I make a mistake, they pick me up offensively. Last year, we really didn’t have any high expectations, and the season got better and better. This season, we aren’t sneaking up on anyone, but we have our own expectations. The challenge is the challenge.”

The trio also noted that the defense still has work to do, even with a no-error game.

“There are so many good things,” Walke said. “We are hitting well over .300 and after these two games might be close to .350. We are seeing the ball well and up and down the lineup we are getting good at-bats. Lilly (Bennett) had a good outing today and the defense is improving. Last season, giving up unearned runs was a problem area, and cost us games. There have been a couple times this year where that has hurt us, but we continue to work on that and I see improvement. We are 11 games into the season, and our defense is very improved. All five of our losses have been to ranked teams, including some Top 5 teams, but there are plenty of things to work on.”

The offense had lots of stars in the win over the Patriots, who fall to 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the WRC.

Every starter reached base at least once and scored at least one run. Seven players scored more than once.

The Mustangs stay right in the thick of things with a rivalry game Thursday at home against Southmont, and there is a trip to play Lafayette Jeff Saturday. More rivalry games are on the horizon with two games against Covington next week.