JEFFERSONVILLE – Jennings County avenged a regular-season loss and bludgeoned Bedford North Lawrences’ sectional title defense into final submission.
The Panthers pounded out 18 hits while crushing the Stars 10-2 in the Class 4A sectional semifinal on Tuesday night. Jennings advanced to meet Floyd Central (a 5-2 winner over Seymour) in the championship game on Thursday.
BNL (20-7) recorded a 6-0 home win over the Panthers on May 2, surrendering only 3 hits. The rematch was a mismatch as Jennings exploded for 3 runs in the first and 5 more in the fourth to end BNL’s 2019 campaign.
The Stars powered to a 1-0 lead in the first as Sarah Stone slammed a home run. But from that point, the Panthers did all the damage.
Kylee Matern got JC off and running with a single, two stolen bases and the first run on Lexi South’s bunt single. Gabby Mahoney added a RBI single, and the third run scored on a error.
Jennings (21-8) took a 4-1 lead in the second on Matern’s homer to right, but the Stars trimmed into that lead in the fourth as Leona Morron and Averie Jones smacked doubles.
Then the comeback collapsed in the Jennings fourth, and all the offense came with two outs. Five hits (and an intentional walk) later, Jennings owned a 9-2 advantage. Carissa Sabelhaus (RBI double), Skylar Weber (RBI single), Tori Lee (RBI double) and Shelby Wilson (2-run double) delivered the decisive blows.
“Early on some of them were softly hit, they just hit it over our infielders’ heads and in front of outfielders,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “But we didn’t help ourselves out, we threw to wrong bases and let them have extra bases.
“We battled back, but there was a period in the middle innings where, no matter what we threw, they hit it hard. Sometimes you have to tip your cap, because 18 hits is a lot of hits.”
South, Sabelhaus, Lee and Wilson all had 3 hits. Sabelhaus and Wilson had 2 RBIs each. BNL starter Zoe Adams gave up 12 hits and 7 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, while Morron allowed 6 hits and 2 runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief work.
“Sometimes it’s not a fair game,” Gilbert said. “As a guy calling the pitches, it’s very frustrating when you feel like you make a good pitch and they muscle it in the outfield. And sometimes you have to say they were ready to play and just beat us.”
Adams had 2 hits for the Stars.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted,” Gilbert said. “Losing the first game (after drawing a bye) in the sectional is not what we wanted. But the kids won some big games and played well.
“Offensively we were not quite as powerful as we were last year, but there’s a lot of teams that would trade places and be 20-7. We can’t let tonight taint what we did through the season. Now we have to get ready for next year and try to reload.”
Floyd Central had only 3 hits against the Owls, but they were all home runs as the Highlanders ousted the Hoosier Hills Conference champions.