One coach was pleased to see his team step up, while the other mentor was disappointed it didn’t put its best foot forward in Friday’s opening round of the 2014 Johnson County Softball Tournament.
Host Center Grove shut out Franklin 4-0, improving to 15-6 on the season and dropping the Grizzly Cubs to 13-7.
The third-seeded Trojans advanced to today’s semifinal contest, where they will take on No. 2 seed Whiteland at 10 a.m. The championship contest is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Trojans coach Russ Milligan was pleased with his ballclub’s ability to shake off early trouble in the form of a two-base error that allowed Franklin leadoff batter Stephanie Janczak to reach second base.
After Cubs shortstop Whitney Shapp sacrificed Janczak to third, Trojans junior pitcher Abbey Pratt got Franklin hurler Olivia Paszek to ground out to third and second baseman McKenzie Writt to fly out to center to end the threat.
“My main point to the girls after the game was we had a two-base error, but the difference between now and then is we had compounded our mistakes before,” Milligan said. “We just played, and getting out of the first inning without giving up a run was huge.”
The Trojans then got on the scoreboard right away when right fielder Courtney Moriarty brought in lead-off hitter Delainey Turner with a single and center fielder Sarah Thompson followed with a run-scoring base hit to knock in Moriarty.
Center Grove added some cushion in the third inning when second baseman Mandy Dallas reached on a double, Thompson singled her to third, and third baseman Victoria Boyer doubled in both to make it 4-0 as the resurgent Trojans when on to claim the 14th victory in their past 15 games.
That run production proved to be more than enough support for Pratt, who Milligan noted “has been phenomenal.”
Pratt, who allowed only one more opposing batter to reach third base the rest of the game, scattered four hits and improved to 9-4.
Her counterpart, the left-handed Paszek, surrendered eight hits, dropping to 11-5.
Franklin coach Joe Paszek was disappointed the Cubs totaled just four hits after knocking the cover off the ball in a doubleheader split the previous day.
“We played a doubleheader at Plainfield yesterday and had 22 hits in two games,” Paszek said. “We didn’t swing the bat today, we played on our heels.
“There was one inning when swung the bat OK, but that was about it. We were very tentative.”