HOPE — Maddi Clark hadn’t made a big mistake all night until the seventh inning, but when she did, her teammates came up big.
With Edinburgh leading Class A No. 3 Hauser 1-0 going to the bottom of the seventh, Clark fielded a bunt from the speedy Lauryn Starnes and fired the ball over the head of first baseman Grace Joyner and down the right field line. But right fielder Mary Franklin threw a strike to Sidney Beier to catch Starnes trying to go to third.
“All year, I’ve preached to the girls about confidence and about picking each other up and about playing seven innings, and they finally did it,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “That error in the seventh inning, getting (Starnes) out at third is huge. That’s picking somebody up.”
Maddi Clark, the coach’s daughter, then retired the final two Jets on groundouts to end the game and give the Lancers (21-5) the regional title. Edinburgh will play Indianapolis Lutheran in the North Daviess Semistate semifinals Saturday.
The Lancers had lost to Hauser in the regional each of the past two years and dropped a pair of one-run decisions to the Jets earlier this season. The regional title is Edinburgh’s second in school history and first since 2011.
“It’s amazing,” said Bailey Woodall, who scored the game’s lone run in the first inning. “It’s what I’ve wanted my entire high school career.”
Woodall beat out an infield single to lead off the game. With one out, Sidney Beier walked, sending Woodall to second.
Vanessa McManaway then sent a dribbler that just got through the infield, and Woodall came around to score.
“I was hoping it would start the momentum for the rest of the game,” Woodall said. “Being the leadoff batter, that’s my job — to get the game going — and if I get on, usually it picks everyone else up.”
After that, Hauser’s Tessa Sims settled down. She retired the next 12 batters and allowed only three hits the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, the Jets offense kept threatening, but couldn’t tie the game. They put runners on base in each of the final six innings, but stranded seven runners and had two others thrown out at third.
“We couldn’t get bunts down,” Hauser coach Craig Sims said. “It seems like we struggled getting the ball down and moving the runner into scoring position, and we couldn’t come up with the two-out hit with runners in scoring position. We were flawless on defense. We just couldn’t muster together enough offense to push a run across.”
The Lancers finished with five hits. Maddi Clark threw a four-hitter and struck out seven for the Lancers.
“I just threw hard, hoping my defense would back me up and make plays to get outs,” Maddi Clark said. “I wanted a couple more (runs). I knew (Hauser batters) would get on base, and I figured they could get them around by bunting. Luckily, we didn’t need a couple more.”
The Jets finish the season 24-4. They went 12-0, including the two wins against Edinburgh, to win the Mid-Hoosier Conference.
That came despite a rash of injuries to key players, including Tessa Sims, who took more than a month off from pitching.
“Going into the season, I thought we could surprise some teams because they knew we were down from losing our entire infield,” Craig Sims said. “But I never would have dreamed that this team would be 24-4. They improved tremendously and exceeded my expectations.”