Softball Team Tops Madison-Grant; Wins CIC Plate

Posted on May 9, 2018 in Softball, Spring Sports

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This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Sophomore Abby Shaw makes a diving stop vs. Madison-Grant

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
MIER — The Central Indiana Conference has produced some great softball teams and classic games through the years, and Madison-Grant and Oak Hill added to that list Tuesday evening.

The Argylls visited their county and CIC rivals with eyes on claiming the outright conference title. M-G started 5-0 in the CIC and already has a share of the title as all the other seven teams have at least two losses with just two games remaining.

Oak Hill played its sixth game since Saturday morning, winning all five previous as both teams are rounding into state tourney form.

With Maddi Evans twirling for the Argylls and Bayli Toy starting and Julianne Gosnell relieving in the circle for the Golden Eagles, hits and baserunners were at a high premium, runs nonexistent for the first eight innings.

But after swapping scores in the ninth, Coleena Selleck delivered an RBI single to right in the bottom of the 11th scoring pinch runner Lori Miller from second giving Oak Hill a 2-1 win and put the Golden Eagles in possession of the traveling CIC home-plate trophy for the first time in school history.

“I’m so emotional,” said Toy while she laughed and fought off tears after learning it was Oak Hill’s first time with the CIC plate. “We’ve been working really hard so it means a lot.”

Toy pitched the first four innings, and after a first inning single by Evans, held the Argylls without a hit for the next three innings.

Evans kept Oak Hill without a hit until the sixth. An Argyll error and a walk in the fourth gave Oak Hill its first scoring chance, but with runners at first and third and one-out, Evans induced a pop and got a strike out to work out of the jam.

Abby Shaw’s single in the sixth was the first Golden Eagle hit, but she was also left stranded at third.

Gosnell entered the circle for Oak Hill in the fifth and sat down the first six hitters she faced. But Evans and Maggie Havens both singled to lead off the seventh for MG before the Eagles Kristin Dubois left fielder turned in the two defensive highlights of the contest.

Argyll cleanup hitter Ellie Alcala hit a curling fly ball into foul territory to which Dubois tracked down and made a diving catch to record the first out and keep M-G’s runners at first and second. Next, McKenna Lugar sent a deep drive to dead left field, but Dubois raced back and took a three-run homer away and keep the game scoreless. She also made a nice running catch in left center to end the inning.

Oak Hill didn’t commit an error in the 11 innings. The Golden Eagles struggled at points earlier in the season, and coach Ben Johnson said the effort his team had Tuesday night was a product of exactly that, effort.

“The one thing I told the girls (early in the season) and they bought in and deserve all they credit, what we can’t turn off is playing hard,” Johnson said. “What we can’t turn off is Kristin Dubois running down and actually pulling a three-run homer back in. Ella Ridgeway going to her back hand and knocking it down then realizing, ‘I’ve still got to hustle,’ and flips her hips quick and makes that big third out in the top of the 11th. Whether we’re playing well or not, those are plays that win a ball game.”

Johnson said part of his pregame talk to the team was crediting Madison-Grant for the intensity the Argylls play with each game. He wanted and got that type of effort from the Golden Eagles on Tuesday.

“I told them the difference between Madison-Grant (and Oak Hill) of many years past, because of (head coach) Danny (Justus) and their good coaches, they never back down. We want to play like them. We want to play the game hard all the time, play the game right, sub, move do what we need to do and we nailed it.

“It’s just girls play(ing) hard. In our talk, I gave Madison-Grant a lot of credit because they deserve it. They’ve done it for years,” he added. “A lot of us other conference teams want to get there too. We’ve got to match their intensity. They’ve got skill, but we’ve got to match their intensity.”

Zoey Barnett singled off Gosnell with two outs in the eighth, but was stranded after stealing second.

Toy reentered the circle in the ninth and hit Havens with a pitch with one out. Havens went to second on a wild pitch then scored the game’s first run on Alcala’s single.

Evans quickly retired the first two Oak Hill hitters she faced in the ninth, but with two strikes on Ella Ridgeway, Evans found too much plate and the Oak Hill sophomore sent the offering over the left field fence for a game-tying home run.

“They finally put a bat on a ball,” said Justus. “They had a a lot of opportunities, but our kids held them at bay. We were one pitch away from doing something good and dag nabbit, you know who called that.

“It was me,” he added, with a disappointed laugh.

Toy surrendered just a two-out hit to Barnett in the 10th and a walk to Alcala to keep the Golden Eagles in a position for a walk-off ending.

The bottom of the 11th featured just that. Korinne Perkins led off with a single and Miller was summoned to pinch run. Gosnell hit for Toy with one out and delivered another single setting the state for Selleck. She ripped a drive into the right center field gap allowing Miller to easily score from second.

Toy pitched seven innings and allowed three of Madison-Grant’s six hits. She had six strikeouts and just one walk to earn the win. Gosnell allowed just three hits and had two strikeouts in her four innings in the circle.

The combination did exactly what Johnson wanted.

“We knew (Madison-Grant) could hit really well so we were placing it where we could get outs,” Toy said. “Our defense was great tonight. It’s not all about the pitchers in all of the games. It’s just making good plays really.”

“They were hitting their spots,” Johnson added of his pitchers. “James Buckler our pitching coach has done a nice job calling games. We tell our girls we don’t care about a strikeout…What I care about is get those pop flys, get those ground balls because right now our defense is playing great.”

Evans surrendered just five hits in working 10.1 innings for Madison-Grant. She finished with 15 strikeouts and six walks, two were intentional.

Madison-Grant now must wait until Thursday for another opportunity to clinch the outright CIC title when the Argylls travel to Blackford.

Justus was disappointed in the loss, but not the Argylls’ effort.

“We knew (Oak Hill was) going to be ready to play, and it was just a good game,” he said. “I think I made a couple of coaching mistakes, a couple bad decisions. We showed our youth a couple of times but the kids were focused. If they could play that way the rest of the year I’d be tickled to death because our heads were in it.

“I’ll wear it,” he added. “It’s my loss. The kids just need to keep their confidence.”

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