BLOOMINGTON — In softball terms, it was supposed to be a quick execution of Columbus North’s 2015 season.
Heavily-favored Shelbyville took a 22-5 record into Thursday night’s Bloomington South Sectional against a Columbus North team that had won only six games all season.
The Golden Bears also had beaten the Bull Dogs 10-5 earlier in the regular season.
But as the late-starting semifinal contest got closer to midnight, North showed that it had made significant progress in a season that was far from perfect.
Down 3-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, North rallied for two runs to throw a major scare into Shelbyville. In the end, the Golden Bears prevailed 4-2, but Columbus North had shown that it was a worthy opponent.
“We just really came out to win,” said North junior starting pitcher Christine Bombardiere. “We said ‘Go or go home.’ We went out with good intentions and we made the right plays. We had some errors, which did cost us, but we stayed enthusiastic throughout the game.
“It was just a tough one.”
It was a rough start for the Bull Dogs. After a lead-off double in the top of the first by Shelbyville’s TeAnn Bringle, a mental mistake and an error allowed Bringle to score the game’s first run.
It looked like the same old story for Columbus North, which suffered all year defensively. Bombardiere, though, after also walking two hitters in the top of the first, settled down and her teammates followed suit.
It wasn’t until the fifth that Shelbyville was able to break through for two more runs to take a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the usually potent North offense had been silent with no hits until the bottom of the fifth when Katelyn Burroughs had a two-out single.
After the Golden Bears went quietly in the top of the sixth, North finally got it together at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
The Bull Dogs’ Katie Prall led off the inning with a double and she scored on a flared single by Tommi Stowers. Bombardiere later brought Stowers home with a rocket triple to right that found its way to the wall.
North, however, was unable to bring in the tying run, and after a Shelbyville insurance run in the top of the seventh, the Bull Dogs couldn’t do anything with a lead-off single by Shea Wasilewski in the bottom of the inning.
“We had our chances,” North coach Robyn Coffer said. “We were right where we wanted to be in the seventh, but it didn’t happen for us. We had our mistakes but we bounced back and did some things well toward the end. The door was open for us, but we couldn’t get through there.
“I felt coming in that we had as good a chance as any. We did things well. We did some good stuff in the sixth inning, but it just wasn’t enough today.”
North finished the season 6-16.