GREENTOWN — The clock finally struck midnight on the most successful season in Elwood softball history as Class 2A No. 6 Eastside defeated the Panthers 3-0 in the first game of the Eastern Semistate on Saturday.
"I'm proud of the girls, and at the beginning of the season I knew we had something special," said Elwood coach Chris Noone, whose team won a school-record 24 games. "The bats just weren't there today, and I don't know what happened. The offense wasn't there."
The Blazers got on the board in the second inning with a bizarre play. With two outs and runners on second and third, the back runner broke for the next base before returning to second and drawing a throw from Elwood catcher Taylor Noone. That allowed the runner to sprint home from third with the first run of the contest.
"That's a planned thing," said Noone of the scoring play. "I was yelling at Taylor to eat it. It's one of those plays, and you gotta fake throw it to second or throw it to third and get an out."
Eastside struck again for a pair of runs in the fifth inning with three straight singles and a wild pitch thrown in to make the score 3-0. Blazers starter Ashton Miller was tossing a no-hitter through six innings, allowing just one base-runner on a first-inning walk.
"She was throwing a curve and a rise," said Noone of Miller. "It looked like a slow curve, and they are a solid team."
The Panthers finally broke through with a hit in the seventh inning by Taylor Noone to lead off the inning. Jessica Taylor followed with a hit, and with two outs Tenasha Stephens collected the third and final Elwood hit of the season to leave the bases loaded as the game ended one batter later.