Bull Dogs can’t hold early lead

TERRE HAUTE — Columbus North softball got off to a solid start against Terre Haute South on Saturday morning, but fell apart during the final two innings.

The Bull Dogs went into the sixth inning with a one run lead against Terre Haute South, but ended up falling 16-5 in the Conference Indiana Tournament. North opened the game with three runs in the first and scored a run in the third and fourth before the Braves rallied with five in the sixth and seven in the seventh.

“Almost every game that we’ve had, we’ve come out hitting the ball and going strong,” North coach Ron McDonald said. “You cannot get satisfied with that … We just need to sustain that. Five runs was not enough to win that game.”

Pitcher Madisyn Prince is still not 100 percent after coming back from her ACL injury, but managed to pitch the entire game against the Braves. McDonald is hoping she will be able to recover enough to pitch consistently for an entire game before the season is over.

“Maddie pitched great through the first five, and we’re hoping to get more stamina out of her,” McDonald said. “She is a heck of a pitcher. If we can get her back close to 100 percent … but it’s just tough right now. We’re down to two or three weeks in the season.”

Bailey Lofton went 3 for 4 for the Bull Dogs. Brooke Bruin and Jenna Fath each went 2 for 4.

Since North will play Bloomington South in the opening round of the sectional on May 23, McDonald didn’t want to show all his cards against the Panthers during the second game Saturday, which was for seventh and eighth place in the conference. He opted not to use Prince in the circle and went with freshman Lilly Hurt instead.

The Bull Dogs (1-22) managed to score the first run in the game in the first inning, but ended up losing to the Panthers (3-11) 12-2 in five innings.

“I think we were done after the first game,” McDonald said. “We got the life kind of sucked out of us the last few innings of the first game. We knew we were going to play against them in the sectional, so we really didn’t go after it like we normally would.”

Sierra Norman clubbed a home run in the fourth inning for North’s second run.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.