For the first time in school history, the Borden Lady Braves are regional softball champions.
Behind a one-hit shutout by sophomore Paige Schindler, the Lady Braves (22-3) put away the visiting West Washington Lady Senators (18-6) 5-0 Tuesday to win the Class 1A #31 regional, reaching new heights as a program.
“It feels great,” head coach Michele Schindler said. “They worked really hard. And they did it one game at a time, which was the key.”
The Lady Braves — who defeated the Lady Senators 1-0 earlier this season at West Washington — took an inning to adjust to the unorthodox windup of Haylea Stephenson, which kept many batters off balance all season long. But in the second inning they got to Stephenson with three runs.
Taylor Streander led off with a single to left field. Kristen Nestor then hit a ball deep into the gap in left center, easily scoring Streander from first. Two outs later, Nestor scored on a throwing error that put Emily Parsons on second. Parsons then scored on a bloop single to left off the bat of Riley Schindler.
Nestor took a patient approach with Stephenson and it paid off.
“Her windup throws you off as a hitter, but we talked all week about waiting for her to come around with the ball,” Stephenson said. “Don’t focus on anything until then and that’s what we did today and we just hit.”
“She knew she had to stay calm and wait for the right pitch, and that’s what she did,” Michele Schindler said.
Meanwhile, Riley Schindler was pitching well in her half of every inning. The walk she gave up in the third inning was the only baserunner she allowed until the seventh.
“I had something to prove because I did not pitch my best against them last year,” she said. “I was trying to get ground balls and pop ups instead of line drives, and that’s what happened.”
The Lady Braves struck again in the bottom of the third inning when Streander reached on another error. Again it was Nestor with a deep line drive double, this one to right center field, scoring Streander to make it 4-0.
Borden added one more insurance run in the fifth when Paige Schindler led off with a single off Stephenson’s glove. She took second base on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Haley Shouse.
Riley Schindler retired the side in the sixth but Emily Rosenbaum led off the seventh with an infield single for the Lady Senators. Schindler recovered with three straight outs to finish it off, and the celebration was on.
“To make history with this team, it feels unbelievable,” Riley Schindler said. “I can’t describe it. I’m just really happy.”
The Lady Braves, who finished with seven hits for the game, advance to play in the North Daviess Semi-state on Saturday.
West Washington 000 000 0 – 0 1 2
Borden 031 010 x – 5 7 0
WP – Paige Schindler. L – Haylea Stephenson. 2B – Kristen Nestor 2 (B). Records – Borden 22-3. West Washington 18-6.