MONTEZUMA, Ind. — It was a strange game when North Vermillion traveled to face host Riverton Parke in the twice postponed championship softball game of 1A Sectional 53.
For the visiting Falcons, it was a game where things went wrong, things went too right and some things did not happen at all, with the end result being 13-3 loss in five innings to Riverton Parke (17-9).
The first inning was indicative of what would not happen for North Vermillion (11-10) as they got both Alexis Brink and Ava Martin on third and second respectively, but saw them still standing there when the inning was over.
Those two runners left on base were the first two of the ten that the Falcons would strand in their five innings of at-bats. Addi Burns was in the circle to start for North Vermillion, but she only faced three batters – all walks – before being replaced by Jenna Bailey.
Burns had been hit on the hand in the win over Faith Christian and even with two extra days’ rest due to the rain, she was unable to hold the ball the way she needed and coach Ardie Kilgore said he had no choice but to move her to play first base.
Bailey came in cold and retired the first batter she faced, but a bunt and a pair of singles allowed the Panthers to drive in three runs.
North Vermillion would threaten in the third inning as Martin reached second base but two balls were hit too well to let her score.
Both Bailey and Cami Pearman hit balls so hard to right field that the outfielder was able to get to them on the bounce and throw to first for consecutive, unusual 9-3 putouts.
Bailey would go on to keep Riverton Parke off the scoreboard until after her team had tied the game in the fourth.
In that inning, after a pop up, the Falcons drew four walks in a row to push one run across the plate.
A ground ball led to a Panther error that let another run cross the plate and then Bailey had an infield single that tied the game a 3-all.
It was then that the bad things happened for the Falcons as they started the bottom of the fourth with two errors, an infield single and another error that made it 4-3.
A fielder’s choice followed by a single and later a looping single to left meant Riverton Parke would send four more runners across the plate to extend the Panther lead to 8-3.
As they had in the first, the Falcons got two runners in scoring position in the fifth, but a fly ball and a strikeout ended the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Riverton Parke was able to find gaps in the defense, hitting soft liners that would land between the infielders and the outfielders for singles.
This allowed the Panthers to add another five runs and end the game on the ten-run rule at 13-3.
“We just didn’t come ready to play today,” Kilgore said. “They seemed to want it more than we did.”
He pointed out that at first his team could not get the bat on the ball often enough, but that late in the contest, they hit the ball but right at defenders for outs.
Kilgore spoke of the five seniors being extra disappointed by the loss, saying, “They won three sectionals and two regionals. They hadn’t lost a sectional game in their careers.”
He summed up the season as one of inconsistent improvement, noting, “We’d get better, then have a couple of bad games, and then get better again. You can’t wait until the state tournament to make your progress and we were just a little slow doing that this year.”