BY GREG FLINT
CAYUGA, Ind. —
The core of any defense in softball is right up the middle — the catcher, the pitcher and the centerfielder.
When North Vermillion hosted Turkey Run, freshmen filled those positions.
For Falcons coach Ray Hall, that youth is of no importance.
“We’re inexperienced, but we’re playing pretty well,” he said. “We may make a mistake or two, like a bad throw, but we’re getting better every game.”
The defense was not a problem as North Vermillion defeated Turkey Run by the score of 9-3.
That showed in the first inning, when two of his more experienced players, senior third baseman Mikayla Kinneer and junior shortstop Taylen Balding, got the Falcons out of a jam by perfectly executing a rundown on a Warrior player.
“It definitely helps to have some experience to go along with our young players,” said Hall about the left side of his infield. “We know we’ve got players we can depend on.”
His team got on the scoreboard in the first when Linzi Woodard doubled to center, moved to third on a looping single by Whitney McMasters and scored on a throw to first after a dropped third strike.
They would not score again until the third when McMasters led off by reaching second when the Turkey Run centerfielder misjudged her fly ball. Kylah Norris got on by being hit by a pitch with both she and McMasters advancing on a ball that got past the Warrior catcher.
Shannon Kennedy singled home McMasters and Kinsey West did the same of Norris to make the score 3-0.
Hall had his team running aggressively and it paid off in the fourth when Woodard singled and Balding walked. Both advanced on a wild pitch then scored on a ground ball by McMasters to put their team up 5-0.
“We’ve been kind of streaky with our hitting,” said Hall, “But the last few games we’re getting more hits and getting some runs.”
Turkey Run finally got a run of their own in the fifth when they got a leadoff double by Kaleigh Basan and a perfect bunt by Chelsie Wood that scored Basan on the throw to make it 5-1.
The Falcons got that run back and another as well in their half thanks to infield hits by Melissa Moody and Kinneer followed by a double by Woodard that made it 7-1.
Turkey Run had threatened several times in the course of the game, but unlike North Vermillion, never got the big hit that started a rally.
They did add a run in the sixth on three consecutive infield singles, but the next two batters were outs to end the inning.
North Vermillion scored twice more in the sixth on a single by Norris, a sacrifice by Lindsey Moore and doubles by Kennedy and Moody. They then loaded the bases, but with two outs, the next batter hit a grounder to end the inning with the score 9-2.