Thursday’s night softball contest between Columbus North and Perry Meridian was deadlocked at 2-2 after five innings of play.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, junior Kelsay Lucas decided it was time to break the tie.
After the Bull Dogs led off the sixth inning with a single by Christine Bombardiere, and catcher Tommi Stowers laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Bombardiere to second, Lucas came through with the game-winning RBI double to help lift North to a 4-2 Conference Indiana win.
“After Tommi laid down that bunt to move the lead runner, I knew that it was up to me to step up and finish the job,” Kelsay Lucas said. “The team gave it their all tonight, and so it was great that it showed out there and we were able to get this key win.”
“We expect performances like that from Kelsay,” North assistant coach Crystal Lucas said. “She made a nice adjustment in that at-bat because she struggled to find the right pitch earlier in the game.”
The Bull Dogs (9-7, 2-1) would score an insurance run in sixth inning after a wild pitch was thrown over the head of the catcher and into the backstop.
It became a pitchers’ duel early in the contest. North senior and starting pitcher Grayson Harney gave up only two runs, six hits and one walk, while striking out eight batters. Harney’s opponent, Perry Meridian’s Megan Eder, allowed only five hits while recording two strikeouts.
“Grayson pitched outstanding for us tonight,” Crystal Lucas said. “We let Tommi call her pitches, and she kept the ball down, hit her spots and gave us some critical outs when we needed them.
“Megan did a nice job starting off for them,” she said. “She threw some pitches out and away. It wasn’t until about the third inning when she started changing her pitches and throwing more on the inside corners. The team did a nice job adjusting and got the big hits when we needed to.”
The Bull Dogs scored the first run of the game in the first inning when Stowers grounded out to score Katie Prall. The Falcons would strike back in the third inning off an RBI-triple by Maggie McBeth to tie the game.
Perry Meridian took its only lead in the game in the top of the fifth when McBeth smacked an RBI-double for a 2-1 lead. North came right back in the bottom of the fifth when Makayla Caudill led off with a double and later scored off a Paige Deneve RBI-single to tie the game at 2-2.
“They have become more vocal out on the field defensively,” Crystal Lucas said. “We have gotten more girls to step up and become leaders on the field at times, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”