Center Grove High School freshman pitcher Abby Herbst admitted she was getting a bit tired.
So Herbst took matters into her own hands, belting a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Class 4A No. 3 Trojans to a 1-0 victory against Greenwood on Monday night in the first round of the Class 4A Franklin Central Sectional.
The Trojans (23-3) will play Franklin (7-18), an 11-4 winner against Whiteland, today in a 6 p.m. semifinal.
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“I was just thinking you’ve got to relax and get a base hit for your team,” Herbst said. “I didn’t mean to hit a home run, but if it happens, it happens.
“I knew it was gone when I hit it.”
Herbst said it was the first game-winning home run of her career.
“I was fighting for my team,” Herbst said.
Herbst allowed five hits in eight innings.
“For a freshman, she’s a phenomenal player,” Greenwood coach Greg Norwood said.
The Trojans, who are the defending Class 4A state champions, had some chances to score, leaving nine runners on base. Greenwood pitcher Megan Overton, who will play softball for Boston College next season, allowed six hits in her final high school game.
“You’re talking about one of the best pitchers in the state,” Trojans coach Russ Milligan said of Overton. “It’s not like we were choking. The kids were trying. She is just that good. She kept us off-balance.
“Evidently she had a young lady (Herbst) that she threw the wrong pitch to.”
Greenwood said Overton and fellow senior Paige Wilson battled as hard as they could. Wilson had two hits and Overton one for the Woodmen, who finished 15-11.
“Megan pitched the best game she has all year,” Norwood said. “We just made too many little bobbles and mistakes mentally, being super young. The older girls were able to keep us in the game.
“Extra innings against that team, after they beat us twice this year, is a pretty dang-gone good game.”
Milligan said he was disappointed the Trojans only scored one run.
“But I’m not that disappointed in the execution,” Milligan said. “We put ourselves in position to win the game. We just didn’t get that big hit.”
Well, at least until Herbst’s shot.
Center Grove topped Greenwood 10-5 in the Johnson County tournament and 10-0 earlier in the season.
In Monday’s other semifinal, which started late because of the extra-inning first game, Franklin scored two in the first inning on a two-run single by Shelby Taylor.
Whiteland tied in the bottom of first with two runs, including a RBI single by Hayley Smith and RBI grounder by Lindsey Boltz.
Franklin followed two runs in the second and three in the third, leading 8-3 after three innings.
The game ended at 10:15 p.m.
Sydney Logsdon hit a three-run homer in the sixth to give Franklin an 11-4 lead.