For the Daily Journal
Edinburgh finally broke through on the scoreboard and found new life as they tied the game after seven innings and seemed to have some momentum on their side.
When the ninth inning came around, it shifted abruptly.
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With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Indianapolis Lutheran’s Stormy Bonds drove a high pop-up into the sun above left field. Briefly in the glove, it suddenly popped out and a run scored, leaving the heartbroken Lancers with a season-ending 2-1 loss in the semifinal round of the Class A North Daviess Semistate.
Edinburgh finishes the season at 21-6.
“Overall, I am very happy and these girls have worked hard and they matured,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “In the last month, they played a lot different than they did at the beginning of the year. They finally played as a group and bought into the team concept, and that’s what happens.”
The loss marked the final high school game for starting seniors Bri Howard and Bailey Woodall.
“This year has been everything I ever wanted,” said Woodall, who will play at Kentucky Wesleyan next year. “I reached every goal that I had set in one year for my entire four years of high school. The bond we have on this team is deep.
“We all grew up together, so we’re all like sisters — we’re family. I’m really going to miss the connection everyone has.”
Clark has seen both Howard and Woodall mature during their time spent with the program.
“Their leadership has been a big part of this season,” Clark said. “Anytime that we needed some energy, they were both always there and always being vocal picking everybody up.”
The Saints got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning when starting pitcher Kimmie Kuehr blasted a solo homer deep to center field to put them ahead 1-0.
It was a pitcher’s duel most of the game. Edinburgh’s Maddi Clark pitched a complete game, surrendering just three hits and striking out 13. Kuehr went the distance as well, allowing four hits and striking out 11.
The Lancers tied the game in the top of the seventh inning when Howard singled and advanced on a Woodall sacrifice. After Sidney Beier was given a free pass, Vanessa McManaway hit the ball between shortstop and second base and the ball was mishandled, allowing Howard to score.
Woodall, Howard, Paige Burton and Grace Joiner all had singles in the game. Beier, the Lancers’ top power hitter, never had an opportunity to swing the bat as the Saints intentionally walked her all four times she came up.
Though Stephen Clark has to find replacements for Woodall and Howard next year, he still returns seven starters.
“They got bit by the bug this year, but they now know what it feels like coming to the semistate,” he said. “They know what it feels like to win big games in pressure situations. I think this will only help us down the road.”