By Steve Page
Getting better, but not there yet.
That was the consensus of Decatur Central’s softball and baseball coaches following their first full week of the season, which doubled as the initial week of the Mid-State Conference slate.
The Hawk girls opened with a sweep of their MSC series with Perry Meridian, then took third in Saturday’s Horseshoe Classic in Pendleton.
The Baseball boys opened with a 4-3, nine-inning win over Perry Meridian at the Phil Webster Baseball Complex, but fell 8-0 on the Falcons’ field before suffering a one-run loss to Columbus North.
“Still waiting on our ace to recover from an off-season injury, but our current staff is getting better by the game,” coach Don Ivey said of his softball team, 2-0 in the MSC and 5-2 overall.
In addition to sophomores Hailey Cruz and Kylie Vaseloff, “Riley Leverington and Bekah Cruz gave us quality innings yesterday to help us get through the multiple games this weekend.”
The same holds true for the baseball squad.
“The team has done well and battled through some tough injury adversity,” noted coach Sean Winkelseth.
“Pitching and defense have been our areas of strength.
“Underclassmen are getting an opportunity to play earlier than expected. Sophomore shortstop Triston Fidler has been solid in the field and a bright spot at the plate. Sophomores Zach Losito, Jaylan Yates, and Ashton Vogel have all contributed positively on the mound.”
The same pretty much holds true for the softball team.
In the home opener against Perry, Cruz went the distance, limiting the Falcons to five hits while striking out 11 batters and walking only one in an 8-1 victory.
She had help.
Senior Laci Boggs, batting third, went 4-for-4, scored two runs and drove in four with a double and a home run. She had half of the Hawks’ hits.
Pitching was not the focus in the game at Perry, which the Hawks won 21-10.
They scored in every inning, including an eight-run third to rally from a 7-4 deficit. DC blanked the Falcons in four of the last five innings.
In Saturday’s Horseshoe Classic in Pendleton, the Hawks topped Chesterton 5-3 before falling 10-0 to Center Grove. They did come back to take third place by blanking Jennings County 7-0. Pendleton Heights stopped Center Grove 5-3 to win the tournament.
“Our offense has been paced by Senior Laci Boggs through our first seven games,” Ivey continued. “She’s had lots of offensive support from a cast of teammates stepping up on a day-to-day basis, those being Jazlynn Stewart, Ella Phillips, Hannah Harper and Brielle Charles.
Madisyn Padgett, Chloe Miller, and Lyla Miller stepped up big with a couple injuries we had to deal with at the end of the week heading into the multiple games we played.”
The baseball team, meanwhile, rallied from a 2-0 deficit in its opener with Perry Meridian, then scored a run in bottom of ninth inning to win 4-3.
Losito pitched the first six innings, surrendering just one run on four hits while striking out 10 batters. Yates worked the final three innings to get the win. Fidler went 3 for 5, Yates 2 for 3 and Losito 2 for 5.
Perry won the rematch 8-0. DC gave up only six hits, but had just three itself.
In Friday’s home game with Columbus North, the Hawks yielded just three hits. North scored three in the top of the fourth; DC scored its two in bottom of the inning, and that was that.
“We need to have better execution with runners on base and continue to put pressure on teams with our base running,” Winkelseth said.
This week, the Hawk boys hosted 3-0 Mooresville in Tuesday’s continuation of the Battle of 67 series. They’re at Mooresville at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The girls have an identical schedule. After hosting the 1-1, 4-2-1 Pioneers on Tuesday, they travel to Mooresville at the same time Wednesday.
more on page 4 and 5.
(SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY STEVE PAGE)
Decatur Central sophomore Zach Losito strides into a pitch during Tuesday’s Mid-State Conference home opener against Perry Meridian at the Phil Webster Baseball Complex.
Decatur Central sophomore Triston Fidler drives the ball into the outfield for a hit during the Hawks’ home game with Perry Meridian.
Decatur Central outfielders Ashton Vogel (left) and Semaj Owens celebrate after Owens made a catch deep on the warning track during the Hawks’ game with visiting Perry Meridian.
Hannah Harper, a Decatur Central sophomore, reaches to make the catch at first base during Tuesday’s MSC game with Perry Meridian.