For the second straight night, the Bedford North Lawrence softball team used a late rally to advance in the Class 4-A Jeffersonville Sectional, while Jennings County’s Lisa McIntosh threw a two-hitter to sideline New Albany 3-0 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Bedford (16-13) beat Floyd Central 4-2 and will face Jennings County (23-7) in Thursday’s 6 p.m. final.
* Floyd Central-Bedford: The Highlanders scored twice in the top of the first inning and cruised along until the sixth.
“I really didn’t think we were cruising,” coach Scott Castleberry said. “I told our kids we really needed 4-6 runs to win.”
His fears were well-founded. In the sixth, Floyd Central starter Caroline Cato, who had retired 10 straight batters, walked the leadoff hitter. Castleberry said he thought Cato was showing signs of fatigue, so he switched pitchers.
Kassie King gave up a single to Justice Kline, and one out later Rebecca Schoenung’s single loaded the bases. Mackenzie Silvers then drilled a bases-clearing double to left field, and Cassidy Morron followed with another double to drive in pinch runner Bailey Nier with the fourth run of the inning.
“On the big hit, it was a rise ball that didn’t rise,” Castleberry said.
Bedford coach Brad Gilbert said that in a previous game between the teams, Castleberry “brought (King) in with two on and nobody out and she got three consecutive infield pop-ups. Maybe that’s what he was thinking. This time we were a little more patient. We told our kids not to swing at that high pitch.
“Not to brag, but I think our kids feeling confident right now. They know they’re going to put the ball into play.”
* Jennings County-New Albany: McIntosh allowed only three baserunners and fanned seven.
“I thought McIntosh was on her game tonight,” New Albany coach Steve Belden said. “She’s a good pitcher.”
“She’s our Miss Softball,” Jennings coach Kendall Wildey said.
McIntosh, a junior, also drove in the only run she needed in the third inning, when she doubled to the base of the fence in left field to score Dani Kirchner from second.
The Bulldogs had their best chance to score in the fifth. With two out and runners on first and second, McKenzie Gill sent a shot to center field. Freshman Ashleigh Donnell raced toward right field to grab the ball.
“I was waving them on,” Belden said of his baserunners. “I thought we had it. But they tracked it down. Defensively they’re solid.”
The Bulldogs couldn’t reach base in the last two innings against McIntosh, and Jennings County added two insurance runs in the seventh.
“Hats off to New Albany,” Wildey said. “They’ve got a very nice team and did a good job throughout the year.”