For the Daily Journal
Monday’s season-opening softball game between Edinburgh and Franklin followed a usual early-season script of pitching being ahead of the hitting.
Lancers and Grizzly Cubs pitchers combined for 25 strikeouts on a cold and windy day at Edinburgh. The Lancers’ Maddi Clark had 15 strikeouts and threw a three-hitter to lead Edinburgh to a 2-0 win.
“I felt like I was a little rusty because it’s kind of cold, but we fought through it,” Clark said.
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Clark, an Indiana Wesleyan commit, helped the Lancers score all the runs she would need in the first inning. After Kaitlyn Bailey reached on a leadoff single, Clark tried to sacrifice her to second and reached on a hit. Bailey took third on an errant throw, and Clark stole second.
Sidney Beier then delivered an RBI single, scoring Bailey and sending Clark to third. Clark scored on a passed ball, with Beier going all the way to third. But Beier was stranded there.
“(The early runs) eased my mood,” Clark said. “I was a little less nervous the next inning after we scored two. I felt like we had a little bit of a cushion.”
After the first three batters, Franklin starter Carleigh Wilmore settled down. She allowed only one more hit, a fourth-inning single by Grace Joiner, before giving way to freshman Izzy Harrison.
Harrison, who has committed to Kentucky, pitched the fifth and sixth for the Grizzly Cubs and struck out all six batters she faced.
“I was impressed with both pitchers today and Edinburgh’s pitcher, too,” Franklin coach Lisa Whitlow-Hill said. “We had trouble getting bunts down to get them around, and then for some reason, our girls were not catching up to her pitching.”
The Grizzly Cubs put the leadoff runner on base in four of the seven innings. Madi Fishel led off the game with a single, but Clark came back with three consecutive strikeouts. Jenna Browning was hit by a pitch to lead off the second, but was caught stealing.
Kayle Murphy led off the third with a single, took second on an errant throw and stole third, but was stranded there. Bostyn Parkhurst led off the seventh with a double and took third on a dropped third strike and subsequent throw to first, but Clark came back with another strikeout and induced a popup to end it.
“I think we did really well,” Whitlow-Hill said. “We only had one error, and we had a few hits. We have some things that we need to work on, but it was respectable as far as I was concerned.”
Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark was pleased as well.
“We were fortunate to get the first ones on,” he said. “We didn’t make as many adjustments in the box as we needed to. But the first game out, I was kind of expecting it to be a little slow. Especially since it’s about 40 degrees, I’m happy with it, considering we haven’t had a whole bunch of time outside on the diamond.”