HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

SOFTBALL: Athenians complete sweep of North

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LINDEN — North Montgomery’s softball senior had a good Senior Night, but her team didn’t, as Crawfordsville completed the county and conference sweep with a 26-5 win over the Chargers.

Mackenzie Rominger hit her first home run of the season, and the North senior had three hits, but it wasn’t enough as the Athenians bats scored 10 runs in two separate innings to pick up the win, moving to 2-19 on the season and 2-9 in the Sagamore Conference.

The Chargers continue to look for their first win of the season, falling to 0-19-1 overall and 0-12 in the league.

“Mackenzie has been on a tear the last 4-5 games,” Chargers coach Rob Early said of the Trine-bound catcher, who is hitting over .500 for the season. “She continues to display a great attitude and set a good example for all our younger players.”

The Athenians were on a team tear, as they registered a season-high in runs. They used 14 hits and took advantage of numerous walks and hit batters.

“We got 11 runs from our 7-8-9 hitters,” C’ville coach Kevin Kellerman pointed out. “It was awesome to see the bottom of the order produce like that. We’ve struggled with getting production from there, and it has been tough to string a lot of hits together for a big inning. We took advantage of everything tonight. It was a real confidence booster. These two wins (against North) can get out players to start to believe in what we have been saying all season.”

It was Kaylie Miller, Bailey Crane and Jessica Tribble, along with pinch hitters Briley Dillon and Addison Hodges, who did all the damage in the bottom three spots.

While literally every Crawfordsville hitter who came to the plate reached base at least once and all but two of those scored at least one run, it was the pitcher who got the first mention from Coach Kellerman.

“Without a doubt, I’m most proud of Kaylie Miller tonight,” he said of his senior, who pitched the entire game, plus had her share in the offense.

“She threw one of her best games of the season,” he continued. “She threw hard, and threw strikes. She was on top of her game, but it was her response to coming out of the game last night (the home win over North) that makes me the most proud. She bounced back. She knew that the game mattered more than Senior Night. She did what seniors do - she was a leader.”

Miller pitched the five innings, and picked up her first win of the season. She allowed seven hits, walked only one while striking out two. Her defense had only two errors behind her, and turned a double-play in the fifth inning.

“We make the routine defensive plays, and that leads to better pitching,” Kellerman said. “We got the big out tonight.”

While the bottom of the order put up big numbers, the top of the lineup was right in step.

“(Allyson) Barton, (Olivia) Reed and (Laine) Schlicher have been on a tear,” Kellerman said of the first three in the C’ville order, who also scored 11 runs. 

Reed reached base in all six plate appearances, and scored five times. The junior had three hits and four RBI. Barton reached five times, scored three and drove in three, while Schlicher also found base six times, scoring three and driving in four.

“It’s getting all three phases of our game together,” Kellerman said. “Pitch well, make the defensive plays and hit the ball. Now that we have seen these results, we can string a few more together as the season finishes.”

The Chargers got two runs in the first on Rominger’s home run, two in the third and another in the fourth. Mallory Morehouse had two hits, reached base three times and scored once. Paityn Church was the starting pitcher for North, and was relieved by Megan Raff in the first.

“We have to keep at it, and the girls have stayed positive,” Early said of his young squad. “We aren’t getting the wins, but these players are getting better, and the experience they are getting will pay dividends in the years to come. There is talent here, and with offseason work, these freshmen and sophomores and juniors are going to get better and better. We have players like Jaymie Freeman, who has made great strides at shortstop. She wasn’t even there at the start of the year, but she loves the competition there. You look at our outfield of Skyley Cloncs, who is a freshman, Cascie Keller, a sophomore, and Lydia Dugard, who never played softball before this spring. They have made so much improvement and gotten better and have a great attitude. This season is a life lesson - things don’t always go well. You have to learn how to get through those moments, and these players are learning that. They keep working on the little things.”

The Athenians have a home double-header Saturday against North White and have both Frankfort and Lebanon on next week’s Sagamore schedule.

The Chargers have two at home Friday against Fountain Central, another game Saturday against Sheridan, and have Tri-West early next week as sectionals are just around the corner.

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