Gracie Boggs, just coming back from an injury, strides into a pitch during Decatur Central’s 16-4 win over Ben Davis in Friday’s opening round of the Marion County Tournament at Dick Collins Field. (SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY STEVE PAGE)
Softball Hawks start fast, but fall
By Steve Page Correspondent
WAYNE TOWNSHIP So much for fast starts.
Decatur Central’s softball team scored runs in each of its first at-bats in the Marion County Tournament.
In Friday’s opener at Dick Collins Field, the Hawks surrendered three runs to Ben Davis in the first inning, then rallied for three themselves in the bottom of the inning. With the score tied at 4-4 going into the home half of the third inning, the Hawks erupted for six runs and blew out to a 14-4 victory.
Catcher Laci Boggs shortened the game to six innings by hitting a bases-clearing triple for the decisive margin.
That enabled the Hawks to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals at Ben Davis.
There, they scored single runs in each of the first two innings, but North Central rallied for a 5-2 lead after six innings. The Hawks rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh, but the comeback ended with runners on the corners and the Panthers escaping by a 5-4 score.
North Central, 11-4, advanced to the semifinal round before falling to eventual champion Roncalli. DC finished its short run at 10-11.
DC coach Don Ivey said the tournament mirrored the Hawks’ season.
“We’ve been up and down all year,” he said. “We can be good and we can be bad. In a tournament like this, we’ve got to be perfect.
“Little things; little things. They’ll get you. When it’s a good team, you’ve got to keep out of those little things.”
Obviously, the Hawks did a lot of little things well on Friday.
“We had a lot of heads-up base running,” Ivey said.
“Like I told the girls before, if their bats are not working, make defensive plays. If we’re not making plays, let’s have the bats working. All of them had good at-bats.”
There was other good news on Friday.
“We just got our ace, Gracie Boggs, medically ready cleared to pitch four innings earlier this week,” Ivey said Friday. “Today, she was cleared to pitch five innings.”
Boggs is a freshman who also plays first and is a designated hitter. She’s the younger sister of Laci Boggs, the catcher.
But with starter Bekah Cruz struggling, Ivey turned to Gracie Boggs, who pitched the last four innings. The same scenario came into play Saturday against North Central.
Hailey Cruz started and worked the first four innings before giving way to Boggs.
“Hailey did a pretty good job,” Ivey said. “She got us through four innings.”
But after their early outburst, the Hawks did not score again until the seventh inning. Defensive miscues also proved costly.
“We gave them (the Wildcats) opportunities and they took advantage,” Ivey said. “We didn’t help our pitchers out. We got up two and relaxed. Then we found ourselves in a ballgame.
“We made it a little interesting there at the end.” The Hawks return to Mid-State Conference play Tuesday when they travel to Martinsville, then return home for Senior Night on Wednesday.
Flanking freshman pitcher Hailey Cruz as she delivers a pitch against North Central on Saturday are first baseman Hannah Harper and third baseman Jazlynn Stewart.
After taking the throw from shortstop Madisyn Padgett to force North Central base runner Lucy Pappas at second, Decatur Central second baseman Sydney Hazelwood pivots to make the throw to first to complete a double play in Saturday’s Marion County game at Ben Davis.
Decatur Central’s Madisyn Padgett hits a single during the Hawks’ seventh-inning rally in Saturday’s Marion County game with North Central.
Decatur Central sophomore Zach Losito fires a high, hard one during Friday’s Marion County opener with Lawrence North at the Phil Webster Baseball Complex. (SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY STEVE PAGE)
Baseball team still looking to improve
By Steve Page Correspondent
Basically, Decatur Central’s hopes to continue in the Marion County Tournament came down to one inning Friday at the Phil Webster Baseball Complex.
In the fifth, with the score tied at 2-2, Garrett Smith singled and advanced to third with two outs. But Michael Garrison was robbed of a base hit when the Lawrence North shortstop fielded his hard-hit grounder up the middle and made the throw to first just before Garrison could get there.
The Wildcats then scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings for a 4-2 win in the tournament’s opening round.
Hawk coach Sean Winkelseth didn’t mince his words following the contest.
“We beat ourselves today,” he said after the Hawks slipped to 9-8-1 and out of the tournament. Lawrence North improved to 6-9 with its fourth straight win.
“We had unforced errors.” Winkelseth continued. “We just didn’t execute offensively when we needed to.”
Which was unfortunate for pitchers Zach Losito and Jaylan Yates. While they walked some batters, they did limit the Wildcats to two hits while striking out five.
The Hawks threatened a lot early, scoring their runs in the first and third innings.
In the first, third baseman Garrett Smith reached on a two-out error and the next three batters – Yates, Michael Garrison and Triston Fidler – drew walks, with the latter pushing Garrett Smith home. In the third inning, Losito led off with a single, stole second, and scored as Yates singled before being caught trying to advance to second.
Losito, Garrett Smith and Alex Brawley hit singles for the Hawks.
Lawrence North reliever Logan Crock secured the win by striking out the last four Hawks he faced. “We were in it, but we didn’t put ourselves in position to win,” Winkelseth said. “We were there.We just didn’t do what we need to do to win.
“We’re disappointed with the outcome, but hopefully, this is a learning experience for our young team.” The next opportunity for that comes this week when they return to Mid-State Conference play. The Hawks travel to Martinsville on Tuesday, then host the Artesians for Wednesday’s Senior Night.
Working in relief, Decatur Central sophomore Jaylan Yates steps into a delivery during Friday’s home game with Lawrence North.
Ashton Vogel races in from center field to catch a shallow fly ball, having the better angle than Decatur Central teammate Brayden Coffey, who is backing out from his shortstop position during Friday’s game with visiting Lawrence North.
Garrett Smith, a Decatur Central junior, lines a single during the Hawks’ opening-round home game in the Marion County Tournament.