EDINBURGH — Edinburgh senior shortstop Brianna Howard figured she needed to take matters into her own hands.
With her team clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup hit her first home run of the season, starting off a four-run inning in the Class A No. 10 Lancers’ 7-2 victory against visiting Southwestern (Shelbyville) in their Class A sectional opener.
Host Edinburgh (18-5) will meet Morristown in a semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“I was just patient,” said Howard of her third career home run. “I made solid contact and we need someone to start getting runs on the board.”
With one out, Maddi Clark then doubled and scored on Sidney Beier’s double. Following a single by Vanessa McManaway, Grace Joiner delivered a two-out, two-run triple.
“It takes awhile to get going, but when we do, we’re solid,” Howard said.
Lancers coach Stephen Clark said he felt that it was just a matter of time before his team broke loose for a big inning.
“We were just mis-hitting the ball, and I was waiting for us to string some hits together,” Clark said.
Maddi Clark, a junior pitcher, struck out 11 to keep Southwestern (10-10) off balance most of the game.
“I knew I had to come out and try to start off well early and make sure I kept the team up,” Maddi said.
She said Howard’s homer got everyone excited.
“They seemed a little flat, so I said, “Let’s keep this going, string a couple more hits together and get some more runs,’” Maddi Clark said. “That made the last inning a little easier.”
Coach Clark said Maddi has gotten more confident as the season has gone on.
“The defense has been playing really well, so she doesn’t feel like she has to have that perfect pitch,” he said. “When you got that kind of help, it makes it easier in the circle. It doesn’t put all the pressure on one person. When the offense does what it did, that makes it easier, too, for her.”
The Lancers took a 1-0 lead on McManaway’s double. After the Spartans tied it in the second, Edinburgh took a 3-1 lead on Emma Wade’s two-run double in the third. The Spartans scored in the top of the sixth on A.J. Kessler’s double to get within one before the Lancers put it away.