An RBI triple by Kristy Rawlings in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted defending Class 3A state softball champion Tri-West to a 4-3 win against Indian Creek in first-round sectional game Tuesday.
The loss marked the second straight year the sectional-host Bruins knocked the Braves out of the state tournament.
While Tri-West in no way resembled last year’s championship team, it proved to still be a formidable opponent for Indian Creek (13-10), especially at taking advantage of errors.
“We left too many on base and didn’t play clean,” Indian Creek coach Gary Mitchell said. “We had a couple of errors. We should have beaten this team.”
In addition to committing three errors, the Braves’ bats were silent until the sixth inning. Moreover, they could not take advantage of the walks given to them by pitcher Marita VanDyke.
Although VanDyke no-hit the Braves through five full innings, she issued six walks.
Tri-West (12-9) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and added another in what seemed like a safe 3-0 lead going into the top of the sixth. That’s when the Braves’ bats picked up for a bit, helped by two walks and a key throwing error by the Bruins.
Freshman pitcher Dori Knight had the first hit for the Braves, singling to center field. Two walks later the bases were loaded for Indian Creek, and RBI singles by freshmen Morgan Palmer and Macy Ashley tied the game at 3-all.
Tri-West couldn’t answer in its half of the sixth, but unfortunately for the Braves they couldn’t, either, and stranded a runner.
In the final inning, the Bruins drew a walk and then with one out Rawlings belted the game-winning triple.
“We showed some guts out there and made it a game,” Mitchell said. “Still, I don’t like to lose.”
Indian Creek, which went unbeaten in the Mid-Hoosier Conference for the first time in five years, loses only two seniors to graduation.
“I’m proud of the girls’ effort this year,” Mitchell said. “It was a very good season for us.”