FRANKTON, Ind. — After Frankton’s Kyleigh Garner and Pendleton Heights’ Bailey Benefiel battled one another to a standstill from the pitcher’s circle for six innings, it took one mistake in the seventh to decide the outcome.
Through six innings, Benefiel had allowed the Eagles, the visitors on the scoreboard, to a pair of singles. Over that same span, Garner had been even better, giving up just a first-inning double. It wazs scoreless going to the seventh.
Frankton didn’t hit a ball in fair territory in the seventh, but there was a base runner as Benefiel walked Taylor Ryan.
When Pendleton Heights came to bat, it all came to and end. Sydney Windlan worked a walk, bringing Jordan Dean to the plate.
Dean put a bunt down and the throw to first was wide of the bag. It went to the fence in foul territory. Windlan, who has plenty of speed to spare, never broke stride or let up. She rounded third and headed for home, beating the throw and the Arabians had a 1-0 victory.
The win propels PH into today’s 4 p.m. championship game against Elwood, a 19-1 victor over Liberty Christian in the day’s other semifinal.
“I figured the way the game was going that the first mistake would decide the game,” said PH coach Rob Davis. “Garner hit her spots against us. Benefiel was very good.”
Frankton coach Jeremy Parker was pleased with Garner’s performance. “It was good to see her get out of her funk,” he said. “She hasn’t been pitching well so far this season.” Against the Arabians, Garner struck out four and walked three. The Arabians hit only four balls out of the infield.
Parker was also adamant that the final play wasn’t what exclusively cost his team the game.