Center Grove High School senior outfielder Maddie Keeley’s nickname is Baby Bird.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t strong.
“Pound-for-pound, she’s one of the strongest kids,” Trojans coach Russ Milligan said.
Yet the four-year starter was without a home run until Tuesday night.
Keeley hit one of three Trojans home runs in Class 4A No. 3 Center Grove’s 6-0 victory against Carmel in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference action.
“She has super quick hands; she hit it in the right spot this time and it went out,” Milligan said.
Keeley was holding her souvenir ball after the game.
“I was anxious because I had gotten hit (by a pitch) the at-bat before,” Keeley said. “I’ve been hitting it really hard.”
Junior catcher Jordyn Rudd’s seventh homer of the year off Carmel freshman pitcher Sommer Edwards had given Center Grove (7-0, 2-0 MIC) a 2-0 run lead in the first inning.
“It was a nice pitch that I really wanted to swing at,” Rudd said.
Following Keeley’s blast in the third, Center Grove freshman Lexi Fair hit her first career home run, a two-run shot to make it 5-0.
Back-to-back doubles by seniors Nicole Abrams and Jessica Lupinetti made it 6-0 after three. The Trojans were done scoring, but pitcher Abby Herbst kept the Greyhounds (1-3, 0-1) in check.
“Having three home runs is a pretty demoralizing thing,” Milligan said. “I would much rather have 15 hits than three homers. That’s hard when you see the girls yank it out of the park, others girls want to do it.
“It’s two games in a row that we stay defensively sound and that’s more pleasing. Giving up one run to a very good Martinsville team and giving up none to a good Carmel team.”
Milligan said it was Herbst’s (3-0) best outing so far this season.
“Abby did a great job; she threw a great game,” Carmel coach Emily Good said. “She mixed it up really well. We’ve got to make better adjustments at the plate, no doubt about that.”
Herbst allowed three hits and struck out five.
“The more she and Jordyn work together (as a combination) the better they are going to get,” Milligan said.
Rudd primarily played third base last season for the Trojans.
After her homer, Rudd was walked the next two times. She got a single in her final at-bat in the seventh.
“As a team, we’re working all together, and it’s showing on the field,” said Rudd, who has verbally committed to Northwestern.
Milligan was pleased to see Fair, who hits in the fifth spot in the lineup, belt a homer.
“That’s what Lexi is going to have to do more often because they are going to pitch around Abby (No. 3 hitter) and Jordyn (No. 4),” Milligan said. “I added a boom to our bing and bang.”