ELNORA — Tuesday evening’s Class A Sectional 63 championship was supposed to be a battle between two bitter rivals, but it turned out to be a Viking coronation.
Barr-Reeve (13-11) defeated Loogootee (9-14),11-0, to capture its first softball sectional championship since 2004 behind eight RBIs from sophomore Skylar Chestnut and a dominant pitching performance from junior Elaina Kavanaugh.
With the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning, and the Vikings already leading 7-0, Chesnut stepped to the plate. The sophomore thirdbaseman tattooed a Chassidy Bridges pitch, which bounced off the top of the wall and over the right field fence to put the Vikings up 11-0, and give Chestnut eight RBIs for the game.
“At first, I thought it wasn’t over the fence, but just hit the fence, but then I saw the outfielder stop ¬- I was fist pumping the whole way,” Chestnut said. “It was crazy.”
The Viking offense started quickly by getting a run in the first inning on a Henley Dant RBI single in the first and then a Chestnut sacrifice fly in the second to take an early 2-0 lead. In the fourth inning, Chestnut drove in Briona Miller on an infield single off the leg of Bridges.
Staked to an early lead, Kavanaugh was nearly unhittable for seven innings. The junior starting pitcher didn’t allow a hit until Gabrielle Ritchey’s bloop single to lead off the fourth, and the Lions managed only three hits for the entire game.
“The big thing for us that we talked about before the game was keeping Gabrielle (Ritchey) off the bases, because once she gets on base you might as well put her at third,” said Barr-Reeve coach Darren Kenney. “To hold this team down the way Elaina (Kavanaugh) pitched and to hit her spots was all we asked her to do.”