Local Sports

Shelbyville softball struggles at highly-competitive Castle Invitational

EVANSVILLE -- The inaugural Castle Invitational featured two defending state champions and eight state-ranked softball teams.

An inexperienced Shelbyville squad was part of the 16-team field in Evansville and struggled against top-flight competition. The Golden Bears finished 0-4 but ended the event with two solid performances against state-ranked programs.

After finishing winless in three pool play games, Shelbyville closed out the invitational against the two-time defending Class A state champion Tecumseh Braves.

Tecumseh scored single runs in each of the first four innings Saturday afternoon – two earned and two unearned – and freshman pitcher Breann Harris scattered nine hits to keep the Golden Bears scoreless for a 4-0 victory.

Gracie Crafton and Addysyn Wettrick each had three hits for Shelbyville (2-4).  Cheyenne Eads (photo) pitched a complete game and struck out five.

Shelbyville squared off with Class 4A, No. 15 Bedford North Lawrence late Saturday morning and the Stars prevailed 5-3 after plating all five runs in the fourth and fifth innings off Eads.

Aliza Jewell delivered a solo home run for Bedford North Lawrence to start the fourth inning and tied the game at 1-1. Anna Williams doubled to score Tori Nikirk in the inning to give the Stars their first lead.

Ratliff, a University of South Carolina commit, delivered her team’s third run and a throwing error made it 4-1. Kendall Graves’ groundout scored Ratliff.

Shelbyville took an early lead in the third inning when Addie Stieneker smashed her first home run of the season. Destiney Johnson scored in the sixth inning off a Sydney Brown single. Stieneker doubled in the seventh to score Eads, who walked.

In its first game Saturday, Evansville North scored 12 runs in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 19-5 victory. Crafton, a freshman making her first varsity start in the pitcher’s circle, took the loss.

Stieneker pitched the final 4.2 innings. The Huskies pounded out 17 hits, collected five walks and were aided by four Shelbyville errors in the first two innings.

Kali Laycock had two doubles and scored two runs in the loss. Eads and Stieneker each had two hits.

Friday’s opening pool play game pitted Shelbyville against Lincoln-Way Central from New Lenox, Illinois. The Knights feature Florida State commit Bella Dimitrijevic, who dominated a Shelbyville squad playing without two starters. The right-hander allowed one hit and struck out 12 in a five-inning 10-0 victory.

Eads was solid through the first three innings, allowing just three hits and one run while striking out five. The Knights scored five times in the fourth inning with the big blow being a three-run home run from Mia Degliomini.

Dimitrijevic added a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

The Golden Bears open their Hoosier Heritage Conference schedule Tuesday at New Castle (0-2) then travel to 4A No. 3 Center Grove Wednesday and Delta Friday before hosting 3A No. 8 Yorktown Saturday.

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