By Dennis Glade
ELNORA — The North Daviess softball team has had a roller coaster season, and that didn't change Tuesday afternoon.
The Cougars (13-6) defeated Loogootee (5-12), 8-2, Tuesday afternoon at North Daviess behind a balanced offensive attack.
Through the first two-and-a-half innings, Loogootee looked to be in control with a 2-0 lead on three hits, but then the North Daviess offense woke up.
Tailon Graber’s one-out single to centerfield scored Alexis Reed and Larynda Keith to tie the game at two.
After Graber shut down the Lions in order in the top of the fourth, North Daviess sent 12 batters to the plate - scoring six runs on six hits to push the lead to 8-2. The Cougars opened the inning with five straight hits.
Brooke Moore, Reed, Jessie Miller and Brooke Lindy all had run-scoring hits in the inning.
“We did not make adjustments the first time through the order,” said North Daviess coach Jodi Berry. “We were hitting off our front foot and not waiting on the pitch. We’ve been preaching all year ¬you get one look and the next time you better make adjustments, and we finally did that in the third and fourth innings. It’s frustrating, because I don’t like it taking that long. I don’t like the roller coaster ride of zero, zero, two, six, zero, zero. We want consistent hitting all the way through.”
After retiring six of the first seven batters she faced, Loogootee starter Remington Wagler surrendered six runs on seven hits before she was replaced with one out in the fourth.
“I’m at a loss to explain it right now,” said Loogootee coach Greg Clark. “We’ll have to evaluate it here in a little bit. She was cruising right along, and she had to put the ball over the plate a little bit more and those kinds of things happen.”
Graber struck out seven, and allowed four hits and two runs early before settling down. From the final out of the third inning to the one-out seventh inning single by Kelsey Seals, Graber retired 11 in a row. Graber struck out four batters in the first three innings, but except for the two seventh inning strikeouts she pitched to contact and that was the difference.
“Tailon (Graber) settled down and I thought once we got those runs in she relaxed and started throwing what she can throw,” Berry said. “Tailon has been throwing a lot because Morgan (Wadsworth) has been hurt. She gave up four hits in seven innings, as long as they aren’t all in a row, I’ll take that.”
In the final stretch run prior to the sectional, Berry wants to see her team hone in on finding more consistency on an inning-by-inning basis to maximize the talent on the team.
“We need to make adjustments quicker,” Berry said. “There is such a wide array of pitching in the county, and we need to make adjustments quickly at the plate and keep our defense solid.”
Loogootee 011 000 0 - 0 4 0
North Daviess 002 600 x - 8 10 3
T. Graber and Knepp. R. Wagler, C. Bridges (5th) and Bowling.
W-T. Graber L-R.Wagler
2B: (ND) Lindy.