By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. —
Pendleton Heights junior Bailey Benefiel threw a one-hit, five-inning shutout over Madison-Grant on Wednesday to lift the Arabians to today’s semifinals of the Madison County Softball Tournament.
Benefiel crafted her deep bow at the waist during delivery into a dominating performance. She struck out 10 of the 16 hitters she faced. The only Argylls hitter to reach base was senior Kaycie Pyle, who doubled to deep right in the fourth to spoil both a no-hitter and a perfect game.
“She’s a strikeout pitcher,” said PH coach Rob Davis. “She’s looking as good as she’s ever looked.”
The Arabians offense gave her all the run support she needed and much more with a seven-run third inning that was ignited by sophomore Sydney Windlan. Windlan doubled with one out in the third and the game still scoreless. In fact, Madison-Grant starting pitcher Cierra Liddick had retired all but one of the first seven hitters she faced.
But in the fourth, Windlan’s double triggered a landslide. She went to third when Breanna Pryor singled.
Davis called for a risky play with Sarah Dixon at the plate. She had two strikes and successfully put down a sacrifice bunt. The Argylls threw home too late to get Windlan for the game’s first run.
After two were out, a hit batsman, two infield singles, a walk and an error, and it was 5-0. Windlan came up again and plated two with a single.
In the fourth inning, the Arabians scored the final three runs they needed to secure a run-rule victory. Singles by Dixon, Delilah Wright and Benefiel were the key blows.
The Argylls had three errors in the game, and two of them were at inopportune times.
“I’m still proud of the team,” said Madison-Grant coach Jay Dunlap. “At no time during the game did anyone get down. They all tried to pick each other up. It was all positive. We’re still learning. We’ve got kids in positions they aren’t used to.”
“They came to play,” said Davis. “My speed got to them. We didn’t have any mistakes.”
The Arabians will play Lapel today but the time of that game might be in question. The Anderson vs. Liberty Christian game was postponed in the consolation bracket, and plans for when to finish that game could alter the start of today’s scheduled games.