ANDERSON — If only Elwood's Jessie Noone had missed the team bus, Thursday's game in the Madison County Softball Tournament would have been more competitive.
But the Panthers' center fielder did make the trip to the Liberty Christian diamond and helped pave the way for a 14-5 victory over Anderson. The triumph lifts Elwood into today's semifinal against the host Lions at 5 p.m.
All the Elwood senior did at the plate was drive in five runs with a two-run triple and a three-run double. After the double, she stole third and scored when the throw went down the left field line.
In the field she closed out the contest with a full-tilt-run and diving catch of a fly ball. When she snagged the ball she was completely extended and parallel to the ground. The ball was barely logged in the tip of her mitt. When she made the contact with the ground the ball never moved and the game was over.
But to make such a pedal-to-the-floor catch with her team holding a nine-run lead? Risky?
"That's just her makeup," said Elwood coach Chris Noone. "I couldn't change that if I wanted to."
The Indians had six hits on the day against Elwood pitcher Mackenzie Bryan and they all came in two different innings.
Anderson had two hits and scored two runs in the opening inning. Avery Raper singled and moved to second when Sydney Schmitt was hit by a pitch. Raper scored on Natania VanSickle's single, which skipped past the Elwood left fielder. Courtesy runner Michelle Smith scored on Alexandra Poor's ground out.
"They did a good job putting the ball in play," said Noone of the Indians. "Kenzie (Bryan) has been having some arm soreness. I think she threw the ball better after the first three or four innings."