Columbus North’s strong start faded midway through their Thursday evening contest as the Bull Dogs dropped an 11-1 home softball battle to Franklin Central.
The visiting Flashes entered the Conference Indiana outing sporting the No. 12 ranking in Class 4A and proved they were worthy of the accolades by collecting a total of 14 hits from eight different players.
The loss, meanwhile, kept North winless on the early season, but perhaps gave coach Robyn Coffer’s squad another nugget of confidence as the Bull Dogs found themselves leading 1-0 after the first three innings.
Junior shortstop Katie Prall stepped to the plate with one out in the third, and after fouling off multiple pitches to stay alive blistered a line-drive homer over the left-center field fence. The shot was her first of the season and only third of her career. She had notched two her freshman year.
“I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it,” said Prall, who also added a leadoff single in the sixth inning. “I felt the connection all the way through the swing.”
Prall’s long ball energized the home crowd, as well as her teammates.
“That was a nice hit,” Coffer said. “We have other good hitters on this team, but they couldn’t get it going tonight.”
Unfortunately for North (0-5, 0-1), the positive buzz was short-lived as Franklin Central (3-2, 1-0) returned in the top of the fourth and plated a quartet of runs after Delaney Thompson crushed a pitch straight over the center-field fence for a grand slam. The junior finished 3 for 3 with two runs scored and five RBIs.
The momentum-shifting blast broke things open against Bull Dogs sophomore pitcher Madisyn Prince, who had managed to scatter just two hits and register a pair of strikeouts through the first three innings.
A fielding error by North kept the flood gates open in the fifth, allowing the guests to add three more runs on four hits. The Flashes tacked on two more runs in the sixth, as well as the seventh.
“Franklin Central is a very good team,” Coffer said. “It’s obvious with the way they hit the ball. But I’m proud of some things we did in this game, and I think we’re making great strides.”
Junior Dani Wyse went the distance in the pitching circle for the Flashes, limiting the Bull Dogs to four hits, while striking out six. She also connected for a solo homer in the sixth to push the score to 9-1.
Christine Bombardiere and Makayla Caudill had the other two hits for North.