By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. —
Pendleton Heights leadoff hitter Sarah Dixon set the table, and Arabians starting pitcher Bailey Benefiel made sure the visitors got none of the food.
The Arabians stopped Greenfield 7-1 Wednesday night to claim the sectional title.
Dixon getting a hit in this sectional was nearly as unavoidable as death and taxes. It was almost a bad at bat by her standards if she had a single. In the three PH victories, Dixon had 11 hits in 12 trips to the plate.
In her final two games she was one hit shy of hitting for the cycle. Against New Castle on Tuesday she had everything but a triple. In the title game, she had everything but a home run.
“She was the MVP of this tournament without a doubt,” said PH coach Rob Davis. “She is seeing the ball so well right now. She is seeing the ball and putting it in play.”
In the other dugout, the opposing team is having great difficulty seeing anything that Benefiel is throwing. On Tuesday she didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning. On Friday, in six innings of work, she only allowed one run and a solitary infield single in the fifth. She struck out a dozen hitters.
“I was just trying to put spin on the ball,” said Benefiel. “I have confidence in my defense. When we score early its a big confidence boost. It makes us all play better.”
Even though Benefiel and Dixon are both juniors, Davis had high praise for the five seniors on the team, Elizabeth Sigler, Alexandra Slick, Kyndall Dishroon, Madyson Lee and Brooke Wendling.
“If my math is correct that game was win No. 100 for the seniors,” said Davis. “We’ve hit all of our goals up to now and this was one of them. All of these (sectional titles) mean something special.”
The Arabians will go to the Warren Central Regional for a June 1 contest against Roncalli.
“That’s who I wanted to play,” said Davis. “I want another shot at them.” PH lost to Roncalli 3-0 in the regional a year ago.