Columbus North began its defense of its Class 4A No. 14 Sectional crown with an 11-0 thumping of Bloomington North Tuesday at Lincoln Park.
The Bull Dogs (17-11) pounded out 17 hits offensively and played flawless defense in holding the Cougars (7-21) to just five hits. Columbus will now face Bloomington South at 7 p.m. Thursday for the tournament title. South advanced after routing East Central, 13-4, in Tuesday’s first semifinal contest.
“We came to play,” said Bull Dogs coach Jerry Burton. “The girls knew that a bad game would be our last game, so they were focused.”
Especially in the first three innings where Burton’s crew built a commanding 8-0 lead.
The Bull Dogs batted through their lineup twice over the first three frames, including the entire nine spots in the opening inning.
After a leadoff out, Emily Scheidt got things rolling for Columbus with a base hit followed by Taylor Fisher reaching on an error. Kelsay Lucas then stepped to the plate and drilled a double to drive in her team’s first two runs of the contest.
The freshman cleanup hitter repeated the feat in the second frame and again in the third, finishing with a trio of doubles and six runs batted in.
“I just go to the plate ready to hit,” Lucas said. “I don’t think about a big hit, but just doing what it takes to help the team win.”
Scheidt, who finished with a 4-for-5 outing, scored a trio of runs, as did Fisher, who tallied a pair of doubles. Alex Whirley, Shannah Hercamp, Sydnee Jackson and Shelby Lucas also finished with two hits each on the night.
Meanwhile, sophomore pitcher Molly Crowe baffled the Cougars most of the evening as she finished with eight strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
Bloomington threatened in the opening frame by notching a pair of hits with just one out before Crowe struck out the next two batters. The Cougars had the same opportunity in the second inning before Crowe, again, struck out the next two batters.
Bloomington did not reach base again until the sixth inning when Emily Mosier beat out a slow roller to third. Mosier had two of the Cougars’ hits.
Burton believes it will take another effort like Tuesday’s to be able to handle the Panthers in Thursday’s title tilt. South also beat the Bull Dogs in regular season action by a 4-1 count.
“I think we’re going to have play really good for seven innings,” he said. “If the girls stay focused, they can do it.”
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