By James Pence
For The Republic
SHELBYVILLE — Columbus East freshman starting pitcher Jordan Johnston went toe-to-toe with one of the top softball players in the state in Shelbyville senior and James Madison University commit Hannah File.
The pitchers’ duel was exciting, but in the end, the Golden Bears got that one extra timely hit when they needed to give East a 3-2 loss in eight innings.
It was a tough loss for Johnston, who had one of her best outings this season. She didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings.
Johnston even helped her own cause in giving herself run support by smacking a double in the first inning to score Mady Foster. In the third inning, she laid down a bunt, and then a Shelbyville error led to Foster scoring again to give the Olympians a 2-0 lead after three innings.
The only batter that did not have trouble with Johnston was Shelbyville’s Kaylee Kingston, who homered in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 2-1. Kingston had a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game in the sixth inning, and then hit a blooper in the eighth inning to score File.
Johnston may have had the slight edge over File in the pitchers’ battle. Johnston struck out four and allowed only four hits.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with Jordan’s performance,” East coach Rusty Brummett said. “She has done a nice job for us and only being a freshman. When you look around, it is one of the better teams in our area and their top pitcher. Expect for one pitch, which was the home run, Jordan battled with her pitch-by-pitch.”
The Olympians outhit the Golden Bears 8-4, but could not get that one extra timely hit when they needed. East left 10 runners on base.
“Against a team like Shelbyville and a pitcher like Hannah, whenever you have a runner on base, you have to get the runner around,” Brummett said. “We had a couple of instances where we didn’t sacrifice like we needed, but there were a couple other times that we did. It is easy to be disappointed with the loss, but I felt like we were in the driver’s seat for most of the ballgame.”
The loss puts the Olympians at 9-5, but they have tripled their win total from one year ago. They could potentially avenge this loss should both teams meet in the sectional.
“I told these girls after the game that we are going in the right direction,” Brummett said. “A out here or a base hit there, and we win that ballgame against a team the last two years that has handled us pretty easily.”