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Softball sectional title showdown set for tonight

Keelen Barlow, Sports Editor

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Last season the softball team could count their wins on one hand-five. 2016 saw a dismal 17 defeats along with only 2 MIC wins, coming against Pike and North Central who only combined for five wins themselves. The Cats hadn’t won a sectional game since 2007, but the tides have turned in 2017, as tonight the Wildcats will play for their first sectional title since the 1998 season when they take on the rival Lawrence Central Bears. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but rain forced a postponement to tonight.  

The Cat’s haven’t had an easy road to the sectional title with arguably the toughest draw of any when they faced the defending sectional champion Cathedral Irish in the opening round. The Cats prevailed 5-4 behind a strong performance from freshman Raniah Rogers who posted her fourth homer of the year on a two run shot in the first. Freshman Taylor Erschen pitched five innings for the Wildcats while striking out two batters with only two earned runs.

After knocking off the Irish, LN took on the host Mt. Vernon Marauders in what turned out to be a thriller of a matchup. Erschen got the Cats on the board in the lead off spot with her eleventh home run of the season and Mt. Vernon then took what would be their only lead of the game after a two run first inning of damage. Rogers then lead the way once again for the Cats with her second home run in as many days during a four run third inning for LN. Mt. Vernon eventually tied the game at 5 after grabbing three runs in innings three through four to make for an interesting finish. Erschen started the seventh with a leadoff double and eventually scored the winning run on a wild throw from Mt. Vernon catcher MacKenzie McCann. Mt. Vernon then started the seventh by putting two runners on with their best hitter, freshman Sydnee Perry, taking the plate. The Cats intentionally walked Perry and then Cierra Taylor squeezed a liner from Morgan Scruggs with the bases loaded and the game was over. Erschen pitched all seven innings in the 6-5 win for the Wildcats.

As for tonight, the LC Bears are the only thing that stands between the Cats and the sectional crown. The Cats took the regular season matchup between the sister schools 7-6. Erschen homered and posted a complete game in the winning effort. The two teams haven’t met in a sectional final since the turn of the century but they did meet in the opening round of sectionals last season, a matchup the Bears won 7-5. The Bears have posted 10-13 overall record and a 3-4 MIC record in 2017.

The winner of tonight’s game will host a regional matchup with the winner of the Greenfield-Central sectional next Tuesday, May 30. Weather permitting, first pitch from Fortville, Indiana is set for 7 p.m.

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Softball sectional title showdown set for tonight