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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tiger Cubs close season with tough loss to Edgewood

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(Photo)
Kayla Downing
WEST TERRE HAUTE -- When the draw for the girls' softball sectional at West Vigo was presented, Greencastle appeared to have gotten the short straw.

Given five-time defending sectional champion and class 3A No. 4 ranked Edgewood, many people might be forgiven for thinking that the contest would be little more than a walkover for the Mustangs Tuesday night.

Greencastle fell to the mighty Mustangs 5-3, but not before giving Edgewood everything they had.

Things didn't start out well for Greencastle as Edgewood grabbed an early 5-0 lead after two innings.

The Mustangs became relaxed, treating the game as a warm-up for any potential deterrents in the sectional. The Tiger Cubs looked to be little of a threat, as a previous meeting was a 11-1 rout for the Mustangs.

A lot of other teams might have folded up their tents at this point and called it a season, but Greencastle was not that team.

After allowing a two-out single in the third and a bobbled grounder at third, pitcher Kayla Downing completely shut down Edgewood.

And then, the rally was on.

The Tiger Cubs stranded runners on second and third in the fourth inning but would make amends in the fifth. Mallory Miller got on base after an error from Edgewood's Laura Luther.

Making her way from first to third on consecutive bad pitches, she was able to score when Kaytlynn Beaman's shot also eluded the shortstop's grasp.

A strikeout and ground out later, Downing took to the plate and smashed a shot to left center field that cleared the 200 ft. deep fence with little to spare, bringing the Tiger Cubs within two at 5-3.

Edgewood, loose and talkative before, suddenly looked concerned.

Forced to bring back in starting pitcher Mariah Gillie, the Mustangs were on edge in the sixth and seventh innings. More throwing errors led to some nervous glances around the diamond, especially in the deciding frame. After a short popout by Beaman that nearly saw two Edgewood players collide, catcher Skyanne White reached base on yet another Mustang error.

Behind her, Taylor Pruitt, hitless to that point, smashed a deep double that got her to second and the go-ahead run at the plate.

Forced to dig deep, Gillie was able to strike out the final two batters to end the contest at 5-3.

Afterwards, a disappointed but spirited look came across the face of head coach Robin Knapp.

"Edgewood's a good team. They hit, make plays. We made several physical and mental errors early," Knapp said. "Later in the game we cut that out and focused."

"There was nothing different about the pitchers (Gillie and Ashley Miller). They threw some different pitches. Once we started looking at them one at a time, we hit either the junk balls or the fast balls. We hit off the second pitcher and then the first pitcher. In the end, the game was in our hands."

While featuring many young players in the line-up, it was the end of the line for outfielders Jordyn Lewis and Kayla Nobles.

"I'm pretty confident that they carried us through this season," Knapp said. "This is a young team and they did a lot to teach the girls how to play the game and play it with enthusiasm. As hard as it might be, they pulled them through this season. They will be greatly missed."

The future of the team was one positive that Knapp was not shy about.

"This program is developing. I think we've made it clear that this team is not to be underestimated. They're beginning to do the little things to make not just this team, but the softball program in general better. They did a great job this year. They came out to play and there are good things to come from them."

At West Terre Haute

IHSAA Sectional 29 (West Vigo High School)

Greencastle 000 030 0 -- 3 5 1

Edgewood 320 000 X -- 5 5 3

WP -- Gillie

LP -- Downing

2B -- Pruitt (G)

HR -- Salyers (E), Downing (G)

RBI -- Salyers (2), Kile, Delay (E), Downing (2), Beaman (G))