Early errors hurt host Columbus North on the softball diamond Tuesday, and visiting Jennings County took full advantage, eventually beating the Bull Dogs 16-4.
A three-run first inning that started with an error on a high fly to left was all the Panthers needed to get rolling. Baylee Krueger and Maddy Hovious had the Panther RBIs in the first on back-to-back hits. Each finished the game with four RBIs.
“It says it all that through the first few innings we had a zero in the error column and they had a three,” Jennings County coach Steve Vanosdol said. “That got us started. Once we got started, our hitters really put it on (North pitcher Madisyn Prince). That’s what we do. We take advantage of other people’s errors and try not to give them back.”
The Panthers added four runs in the third, capped off by a Kaylin Klosterman homer, but it was another error, this time on a misplay in the infield, that got the inning going.
“Same thing, different day,” North coach Robyn Coffer said. “We reverted back to old habits. Errors cost us. It’s simple.”
To the Bull Dogs’ credit, they hung around in what looked like it could be a quick five-inning game.
After Tommi Stowers walked to begin the bottom of the third, Kelsay Lucas and Christine Bombardiere singled to score one Bull Dog run before Makayla Cuadill doubled home two more.
North got another run in the fourth when Stowers drove in Katie Prall with a double, but that would be all the Bull Dogs could muster offensively.
“We hit with them,” Coffer said. “We were, at one point, outhitting them and losing. The hitting is coming around, but our defense has to support our pitcher, and we have to play seven innings.”
Lucas, celebrating her senior night along with teammate Shea Wasilewski, was 3 for 4 with a run in the game.
“Kelsay comes ready to play every game. She gives you her best effort, does whatever is asked of her and plays wherever you need her to play. She’s been a rock for us,” Coffer said.
Jennings County never fully ran away until the seventh. After starting the inning with a 9-4 lead, the Panthers took away all doubt as to the result by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs. Tesla Kapitzke had two hits in the inning.
“This team’s forte is that they can hit the ball,” Vanosdol said. “They take a lot of pride in their hitting. We’re dangerous top to bottom. It’s the pride they take in it and the work they put into it in practice. They like to hit.”