Wildcats rally to remain undefeatedApril 13, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG - Fans who enjoy pitcher's duels would not be disappointed with this one, but somebody had to come out on top - and late inning tension brought about the conclusion of Tuesday's county rival game between Jasper and Southridge.
The Wildcats (7-0) and Raiders (3-3) found themselves in a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh when Jasper had a couple of runners on base. That's when junior Megan Matheis connected to bring in junior Adrienne Simmers and sophomore Hillary Springer - giving Jasper the 3-1 edge, and bringing the game to its eventual final score.
"I just had to relax and hit it somewhere through," Matheis said. "That's what I was thinking the entire time, and it worked out well."
Matheis coming through in the clutch was more than enough run support for senior pitcher Mia Werner. Werner got a couple of outs in quick order in the bottom of the seventh before sophomore Ally Buening stepped to the plate to represent Southridge's last chance. Buening kept fighting and fouling off Werner's pitches, but in the end, she succumbed to a Werner strikeout to preserve Jasper's undefeated record.
Wildcats junior varsity coach Paul Nichter filled in for Matt Pryor on Tuesday, as the latter was out sick, but the outcome was the same as it has been all season.
"It was nerve-wracking for me - being the first time filling in for Matt, but definitely they picked me up here," Nichter said.
Senior Hannah Schwenk got the scoring started for Jasper when she cranked a solo home run in the top of the second inning that gave the Wildcats the 1-0 lead, and it would stay that way until the bottom of the sixth.
Werner took it from there, not allowing the Raiders much of anything. She already had a no-hitter April 6 against Heritage Hills, and she flirted with another one here on the road against Southridge. The Raiders didn't get their first base knock until the bottom of the fifth when senior Briley King finally broke through for Southridge.
Jasper's righty had her way for much of the game, and she finished with 12 strikeouts and the win. However, Southridge kept working to try to make something happen. Senior Maddie Songer walked in the bottom of the sixth, and a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Claire Lanman moved her over. Another senior, Kennedy Nalley, looked at a count of no balls and two strikes before she eventually knocked Songer in from second base to tie the game.
However, the Raiders couldn't give junior Myah Montgomery any additional run support, and she took the loss.
"Our inability to put the ball in play on a consistent basis really hurt us tonight," Raiders coach Jason Songer said. "Werner's a good pitcher - really good pitcher, and we knew she was, and we knew we had to shorten up our swings and get the bats through the zone. We just didn't make real good contact tonight."
They will try to climb back above .500 Wednesday when they are scheduled to play another home game against Loogootee.
"I think we've committed one error in the last four games," Jason said. "So, defensively, I think the girls are playing well. We just got to start putting the ball in play, and I think once we start putting the ball in play, we're going to be a tough team to beat."
The Wildcats, meanwhile, will seek to push their record to 8-0 Wednesday, and they'll have to do so by being set to go on the road again - this time to Washington. Nichter did not know at the time that he spoke to the Herald if he would coach varsity again, or if Pryor would resume his duties.
"Hopefully, Coach Pryor will be back, and this is a 24-hour bug - and he can have all these nerves and I can coach JV then," he said.
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