A three-run first inning proved to be just enough for Class 4A, No. 13 Columbus North to defeat 4A No. 6 Shelbyville 4-2 in the quarterfinal round Tuesday of the Shelbyville Softball Sectional.
The Golden Bears’ record-setting season came to an end much earlier than expected after a slow start.
“We didn’t do a very good job hitting the ball,” said Shelbyville coach Mark Hensley. “We put the ball in play a few times and forced them to make a few errors and we got some things to happen, but we had to do a better job hitting the ball. We are one of the better hitting teams around and we only had three hits. You won’t win very many games with three hits.”
Shelbyville (24-5) trailed 4-0 after three innings before Karissa Hamilton collected her 22nd home run of the season – a solo shot that sparked a crowd of over 500 in attendance for the sectional showdown between two state-ranked teams.
Columbus North (22-4) nearly fell apart in the fifth inning. Three consecutive errors plated a second run for the Golden Bears and cut the Bull Dogs’ lead in half.
Addisenn Weaver then drew a two-out walk to load the bases bringing Hamilton to the plate for a third time against Rutan.
The Shelbyville junior lifted a high fly ball deep to centerfield that brought the crowd to a buzz but it was caught to end the threat.
“She got a pretty good crack at it and just … just … missed it from making that game 6-4,” said Hensley.
Shelbyville again got runners in scoring position in the sixth but couldn’t get the hit it needed off Rutan, a sophomore, who allowed just three hits and had nine strikeouts.
“She was throwing her rise ball and it was out of the zone and we were swinging at it,” said Hensley. “We’re a better team than that. It’s not a pitch we normally swing at, and we kept swinging at it.
“We were swinging at her pitches which is a deadly combination when you have a good pitcher that can get you to swing at the pitches she wants you to. We needed to be a little more disciplined.”
Rutan improved to 16-2 this season with a 1.57 earned run average.
Columbus North finished with five hits, two apiece by Rutan and Josie Lemmons. Bailey King had three runs batted in.
The Bull Dogs will face Bloomington North, a 12-5 winner over Columbus East in Tuesday’s first quarterfinal game, at 6 p.m. Thursday at Shelbyville.
Class 2A, Sectional 42
Class 2A, No. 7 Eastern Hancock improved to 26-1 with an 11-0 sectional semifinal win Tuesday over Triton Central (9-13).
Kaylee Stewart was 3-for-4 with three doubles, three runs scored and four RBIs for Eastern Hancock.
Triton Central managed just two hits and struck out seven times against Eastern Hancock pitcher Madison Stephens.
In the other sectional semifinal, Scecina defeated Heritage Christian, 4-2.
Eastern Hancock will face Scecina today in the Knightstown Sectional championship game.