Hauser’s dream of back-to-back softball state titles was put in a squeeze Monday night.
Class A No. 5 Borden laid down a suicide squeeze with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 4-3 win against the top-ranked Jets in the finals of the North Daviess Semistate.
“They were the better team tonight,” Hauser coach Craig Sims said. “We had way too many errors, and they took advantage of every mistake we made.”
The Jets (26-1) were plagued by four errors but took advantage of five miscues by the Braves (20-2). Those allowed Hauser to battle back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game after five innings.
But in the seventh, Borden took advantage of an error and two hits to load the bases with nobody out. Tessa Sims got Paige Schindler to pop out to short, but then Riley Schindler executed a perfect suicide squeeze to push across the winning run.
The Jets had a chance in the bottom of the seventh after Taylor Henderson reached on an error, Lauryn Starnes sacrificed her to second and Leslie Sims reached on a bunt single. After Leslie Sims stole second, Tessa Sims laid down a bunt and reached first when Borden opted to hold Henderson at third.
Hailey Lange then tried to squeeze in a run, but Paige Schindler fielded the bunt and threw home for the force play and the second out. Paige Schindler then got Sidney Giles to fly to center field to end the game.
“We battled back, got back in the game and were in a good position there,” Craig Sims said. “We were one hit away from winning the ballgame. It’s a game of inches.”
The Braves jumped on top with a run in the first, but it could have been much worse. After they loaded the bases with nobody out, Keisha Curry lofted a sacrifice fly to center to score one run.
Tessa Sims cut off Sydney Schoen’s throw to the plate and threw to Leslie Sims to get the runner trying to go to second. Leslie Sims then threw to Lange at the plate to cut down the runner trying to come home from third to complete the triple play.
“We didn’t have a very good start,” Craig Sims said. “Tessa wasn’t throwing very well there, and they put a lot of pressure on us right out of the gate … I honestly thought maybe when they scored first, that might be the only run scored in the game.”
But then Borden plated two more runs on one hit and two Hauser errors in the third to make it 3-0. The Jets then came to life with Leslie Sims singling, stealing second and scoring on a single by Tessa Sims. Tessa Sims took second on the throw to the plate, went to third on a fly to right by Lange and scored when the throw to third went to the fence.
Hauser drew even in the fifth when Leslie Sims singled with one out, went to second on an error, stole third and scored on a groundout by Tessa Sims.
“I was surprised there were that many hits, but I knew it was going to go back and forth, back and forth all night because I think they wanted it as bad as we wanted it, and when you want it too much, you’re going to make errors,” Borden coach Michelle Schindler said. “It was just a battle — who’s going to get the last hit?”
Leslie Sims finished with four of the Jets’s six hits, going 4 for 4 with four stolen bases to finish her career with a state-record 237 steals. Tessa Sims and Schoen had the other Hauser hits.
The loss ends the Jets’ winning streak at 35 in a row and brings to an end the careers of Leslie Sims, Giles, Abby Kidwell and Kali Schumacher.
“These girls had a phenomenal season, a phenomenal two years,” Craig Sims said. “These four seniors have turned Hauser softball around. We’re going to miss them.”