PENDLETON — No. 9 Pendleton Heights and Highland used one-hit shutouts and strings of hits to advance to today’s Class 4A PH softball sectional championship game.

The Arabians stopped Greenfield-Central 5-0 as PH’s Erin Falkenberry added two more home runs to her school record career total.

The Scots remain unscored upon in the sectional and banged out 17 hits in an 8-0 whitewash of Richmond.

Those two teams will meet for the title at 6 p.m. today.

In the opener, PH threatened in the first inning, but didn’t break into the scoring column until the third when Falkenberry drove a two-out pitch over the right-center field fence, scoring Shonda Garringer.

“I’m glad to get a chance to contribute,” said Falkenberry, who had experienced several games where she didn’t see a strike the entire contest. “I think that definitely relaxed Lindsey (Beisser, the Arabians’ starting pitcher).”

If that relaxed Beisser, then the next inning must have been like a sleeping pill. Halee Myers bunted her way on base. Shawn Hoskins bunted and also reached when the Cougars misplayed the ball. Ashley Warrum loaded the bases with yet another successful bunt.

One out later, Garringer bashed a single off the glove of Cougar second baseman Katie Coffin and into right field to score Myers and Hoskins.

PH had a 4-0 lead that seemed very safe the way Beisser was pitching. She logged all seven innings, walking three and striking out six.

“She threw Monday and then again on Thursday, that’s a long time between starts,” PH coach Scott Hall said. “Hopefully (Thursday) will get her ready to pitch in the championship.”

The Arabians’ final run came on Falkenberry’s second blast, this one just a little bit closer to center but no less in doubt than the first one.

“The second one was on a changeup,” she said. “I don’t remember what the pitch was on the first one.”

In the nightcap, Highland threatened with a pair of hits in the first inning, but waited until the third to explode for four runs.

Katie Lee, Jarah Ice, Kayla Byrne, Stormy Holder, Lauren Williamson and Jessica Jones all had singles as the Scots took a commanding 4-0 lead. Five successive singles in the fourth made it 7-0 and the suspense had ended.

Highland starting pitcher Williamson allowed her first baserunner in nine innings of sectional work when Richmond’s Abby Murphy ground a single to left. But Williamson struck out the next six hitters. She has allowed no runs and just one hit in 11 sectional innings.

Freshman pitcher Jessi Brown capped the shutout with three more perfect innings.

“Lauren’s on fire for us right now,” said Highland coach Doug Holder. “As a staff, we couldn’t be happier.”

Lee, who has turned into a solid leadoff hitter, had three hits, scored twice and had a stolen base. Byrne, who sat out Tuesday’s game, was hungry, collecting three hits, scoring twice and driving in two.

“When we lost to Pendleton Heights during the season, I was hoping we’d get another chance to play them,” said Holder. “Now this is a chance for us.”

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