By Bill Cross
For The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
It started out as a pitchers’ duel, but it turned into a rather deceiving final score Wednesday evening as the visiting Madison-Grant Argylls beat the host Lapel Bulldogs 10-0 in varsity softball.
The Argylls broke open a scoreless tie with a two-out, four-run rally in the top of the fifth. Kaycie Pyle ripped a shot to center with the bases loaded that drove in two runs. On the play, Pyle attempted to go to second but was caught in a rundown. Katie Kohlmorgen broke for home and soon found herself hung up between third and home. Kohlmorgen scored when a throw went over the head of Lapel catcher Brittany Young. Pyle went to third and scored on a double by pitcher Cierra Liddick.
It was all the offense Liddick needed to secure the win.
“Kaycie has been a tremendous hitter for us all season,” Madison-Grant coach Jay Dunlap said. “She gets us going, and everyone seems to follow along.”
Madison-Grant added a run in the sixth and five more in the seventh.
Lapel starter Katelyn Willis put together a strong start, her first after missing Tuesday’s game due to injury.
“Willis has been hurt since the first game of the county tourney (in early April),” Lapel coach Scott Rich said. “She’s been battling it ever since.”
Willis allowed a single and a walk through four innings before surrendering a one-out single in the fifth to Cheyanne Hasty. Willis retired Bailee Havens before the dam broke.
Meanwhile, Liddick was on pace for a no-hitter before leaving the game in the fifth with an elbow injury. Liddick issued a lead-off walk to Kirsten Rich but settled down to strike out the side in the first. She left in the fifth with two outs after firing her eighth strikeout. Rose Perry came on in relief and retired seven of the 10 batters she faced, giving up two hits and a walk in the process.
It was the continuance of a disturbing trend for Lapel. The Bulldogs were held to one hit in a 10-0 loss to Triton Central on Tuesday and had just two against Madison-Grant.
“Top to bottom this may be one of the best hitting teams I’ve had,” Rich said. “(We’re) capable of putting the ball in play, but I think we’re struggling with the mental part of it.”
After Tuesday’s loss, Rich said the team aired some differences.
“Tonight all I asked for was to go out there and not take the field unless you were ready to make some effort,” Rich said. “That (effort) is what I saw tonight.”
There were several examples of effort from Willis’ start to nice catches by outfielders Stacy Bauer and Kennedy Teegarden and a diving attempt to catch a foul pop by first baseman Rachael Sherwood. Bauer’s catch led to a double play as she threw out a Madison-Grant runner caught off second. Teegarden made a running grab and fired the ball back to the infield to keep a runner from tagging up.
Rich saw several positives from his Bulldogs.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction. We just have to get our bats back on track. That’s what’s killing us right now,” he said. “There were a lot of positives to come out of the game tonight.”
As for the Argylls, Dunlap saw a continuation of solid hitting from his team.
“I’m happy with the way they played,” he said. “We struggled early with the off-speed pitches, but I thought our kids adjusted well and got in tune with it”.
Pyle finished with two hits and four RBIs to lead Madison-Grant (10-6) while Kirsten Rich had a walk and a hit to lead Lapel (4-7). Young had the other Lapel hit.
Madison-Grant travels to Tipton and Lapel hosts Knightstown for a doubleheader today.