The hitting part is starting to come around for the Columbus North softball team.

Pitching, on the other hand, is a work in progress while the Bull Dogs await the return of senior ace Madisyn Prince from an ACL injury.

Friday night, North scored a season-high six runs and pounded out a season-high nine hits in only four innings before its game with East Central was called because of darkness and ended in a 16-6 loss.

“We’re starting to hit the ball real well,” North coach Ron McDonald said. “We’re probably about six or seven batters in the order that have been putting the bat on the ball, and today, they found some holes. I was real happy with some of the girls and their hitting tonight.”

After the Trojans (1-1) scored three times in the top of the first, the Bull Dogs (0-4) came back with two in the bottom of the inning. Brooke Bruin led off with a triple to the right field corner and scored on a wild pitch. Sierra Norman doubled to left center, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bailey Lofton. North then loaded the bases with two out, but could not push the tying run across.

East Central then scored nine times in the second. The last seven of those came after two were out.

The Bull Dogs scored again in the bottom of the second. Bruin singled with one out, and starting pitcher Charisma Borroughs reached on a fielder’s choice. Norman then reached on an error, and Lofton singled to score Borroughs and cut the lead to 12-3.

East Central scored four times in the third and shut out North in the bottom of the inning. The Bull Dogs then blanked the Trojans in the top of the fourth before putting up three themselves in that inning.

Lilly Hurt, who relieved Borroughs in the circle with two out in the second, led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to straightaway center. Bruin then singled, Borroughs reached on a fielder’s choice and Norman singled her to third and took second on the throw. Lofton then lined a two-run single.

East Central had scored four times with one out in the fifth and had the bases loaded when the game was called. Since North did not get to bat in the fifth, the score reverts back to the end of the last completed inning.

The Bull Dogs were again without left fielder Haylee Medve, who has a kidney stone. McDonald is hopeful that Prince can return to action next week.

“If she pitches tonight, we win,” McDonald said. “It was the same way the other night. If she pitched at Silver Creek, we would have won.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.