Senior staff writer
Center Grove’s undefeated softball team dominated Greenwood and the Trojans baseball team edged the Woodmen last weekend in rivalry games.
On the softball field, coach Russ Milligan’s squad downed the host Woodmen 10-1 Friday behind 15 hits, including catcher Jordyn Rudd’s home runs in the second and fourth innings and shortstop Tyler LeMasters’ three-run first-inning home run.
The No. 5 Trojans jumped to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Winning pitcher Nicole Abrams gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked two. The Trojans scored four runs in the first inning and left the bases loaded.
The lone Greenwood run was unearned, the result of two errors and a hit batter in the third inning. Senior Kaitlyn Heffner had two of Greenwood’s three hits.
Rudd was 4-for-4, drove in four runs and scored four runs. Piper Belden and Jessica Lupinetti each had two hits. Fourth-year starter Maddie Keeley reached base three times.
Milligan has four returning starters but only one returns at her regular position. The veterans are Keeley, Rudd, sophomore Abby Herbst and center fielder Hanna Burris.
Although the Trojans are 5-0 for the third straight season, their veteran coach says there is a need to improve.
“I knew we could hit,” Milligan said. “But I want perfection from the girls, not only scoring a lot of runs but holding teams scoreless – those zeroes are hard to accomplish. We need to focus when we have a game well in hand; we have to continue to be wired.”
Not surprised by CG’s power, Greenwood coach Greg Norwood said, “They have multiple kids who are great hitters. This was only our third game; we kept a good attitude but we need to be in attack mode at the plate. We’re checking too many pitches, but more reps will help.”
On the Trojans’ baseball field, Center Grove could not grasp the big prize Saturday against Whiteland after defeating Greenwood (1-5) by one run to reach the Johnson County championship game.
After making a harmless error against Greenwood, the Trojans (2-4) committed six errors in the title game that Whiteland won 6-2 to take the county trophy for the first time in 40 years. The Warriors fell to Perry Meridian 9-6 in a regular-season game Friday, playing three games in less than 24 hours.
In the semifinal matchup, junior pitchers Jacob Johnson of Center Grove and Jordan Martin of Greenwood locked into a scoreless duel for three innings.
All the runs were scored in the fourth. Center Grove’s Ryan Sauter led off with a double to snap Martin’s no-hitter. Teammate Garrett Hill delivered a two-run homer.
Greenwood came back with run-scoring hits by Joel Stinnett and Jacob Cutter. Greenwood rallied in the seventh with two hits with two outs but relief pitcher Chris Foote, who came in after four innings, ended it with his third strike out.
The Trojans’ No. 7 hitter, junior Corey Daffron, had four hits.
Center Grove coach Keith Hatfield expressed concern over the Trojans’ lack of runs this season.
“Our pitching was very good in the first game,” Hatfield said. “We haven’t hit the ball well; we can’t seem to score the runs we need. We haven’t scored more than five runs in any game. We’re young, but we need to be aggressive.”
Greenwood coach Andy Bass praised Martin, who struck out 12 Trojans. Martin struck out two batters with the bases loaded in the fifth and got two outs with runners on first and second in the sixth.