- Val T.
Caston hits 4 homers, beats Winamac to stay unbeaten in Hoosier North
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
FULTON — Caston sophomore catcher Isabel Scales hit a softball so far against visiting Winamac Tuesday that one might have been inclined to ask for its boarding pass.
The trajectory of Caston’s season might also be heading upward.
The Class 1A, No. 2 Lady Comets hit four homers and scored 13 unanswered runs after falling behind in the first inning in beating the Lady Warriors 13-1 win in five innings.
The win is Caston’s first over Winamac since the formation of the Hoosier North in 2015.
Ella Gearhart hit a solo homer off Caston’s Addison Zimpleman in the first inning. She also hit a walk-off homer in the eighth inning off Zimpleman at Winamac Town Park last year, but that might have been the only thing that the two games had in common.
Makena Middleton didn’t play in last year’s game because she was an eighth-grader, but she might have turned the momentum when she hit a two-run homer off Gearhart in the bottom of the second. Haley Logan then followed with another homer to make it 3-1.
Caston then scored six more times in the third.
Zimpleman reached on an error. Annie Harsh attempted to bunt but missed for a strike.
Caston coach Jon Burks took the bunt sign off and had Harsh swing away. She crushed a double to deep left-center to score Zimpleman from first.
Afterwards, Burks deemed Harsh a “wonderful bunter.” But Burks also said he had forewarned Harsh earlier that he might take the bunt sign off, even in a situation with Zimpleman on base and nobody out.
“I want you to go ahead,” Burks recalled telling Harsh. “But then I’m sure if it is, then the next one, she’s probably going to feed to you thinking you’re going to bunt again, but just drive it. We were taking a guess, and we guessed right, and she smoked it.”
Harsh would later score on a Scales single to center to make it 5-1. Maddi Smith’s infield single and Macee Hinderlider’s single loaded the bases.
Middleton then sprayed a single inside the right field line for her third and fourth RBIs of the game to make it 7-1.
Middleton is 5 for 11 with a double, two homers and eight RBIs in her last four games. She smiled at recounting her two-run single, saying she’s never gotten a hit to right field. She called Burks a “great coach.”
“Pretty much you don’t have to go all out for it,” Middleton said, when asked what the best advice she has received about hitting. “Just do your best and make contact.”
Hinderlider advanced to third on Middleton’s hit and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-1.
Middleton advanced to second on a wild pitch and later scored on Logan’s RBI single.
In the fourth, Zimpleman doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and later scored on Kinzie Mollenkopf’s single. Then came another set of back-to-back homers – Scales’ aforementioned two-run missile off Gearhart and Maddi Smith’s solo shot off reliever Maggie Smith.
Burks praised his hitters’ improvement.
“I’ve got them to love the game, like I do,” Burks exclaimed. “Think. Improvise. Think outside the box.”
This marked the 11th time the team has scored in double figures in 16 games. Counting the four in this game, they have 28 homers for the season.
“Really, their hard work has just been paying off,” Burks said. “They’re in here. We’re batting. We’re fielding for an hour and half, an hour and 45, maybe two hours. And it’s starting to pay off. … We’re a big unit now. Pistons are starting to fire on all cylinders, so I’m really excited right now as far as how we’re looking.”
Caston 13, Winamac 1 (5 innings)
Winamac 100 00 – 1 3 1
Caston 036 4X – 13 13 0
WP – Addison Zimpleman (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)
LP – Ella Gearhart (3 ⅓ IP, 11 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K)
2B – Brooke-Lynne Ulerick (WIN), Annie Harsh (CAS), Addison Zimpleman (CAS)
HR – Ella Gearhart (WIN), Makena Middleton (CAS), Haley Logan (CAS), Isabel Scales (CAS), Maddi Smith (CAS)
Winamac senior Ella Gearhart (10) pitches to Caston’s Addison Zimpleman during a softball game at Caston during Pink-Out Night Tuesday. Zimpleman went 1 for 3 at the plate and pitched a three-hitter in the circle in Caston’s 13-1 win in five innings. Emma Goodman is the catcher, and Darrell Watson is the home plate umpire. (photo provided by Dee Brown)
Caston’s, from left, Maddi Smith, Isabel Scales, Haley Logan and Makena Middleton all homered in the team’s 13-1 win in five innings over Winamac Tuesday. Caston has hit 28 homers as a team in 16 games. They are 14-2 overall and 5-0 in the Hoosier North.