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  • Val T.

Hinderlider stars, Zimpleman plays through pain as Caston takes 3rd at Kokomo


Sports Editor, RTC

Macee Hinderlider

KOKOMO — Macee Hinderlider is doing the little things. She is doing the big things. As a senior, she is doing things you have never seen her do in the previous three years.

Meanwhile, Addison Zimpleman gutted out the pain to clobber hit after hit after hit.

The Caston softball team needed everything their senior stars gave them as they pulled out a 10-9 win over Kokomo in the third-place game at the Kokomo tournament Saturday.

The team began their day with a 19-3 loss in five innings to South Bend St. Joe in the semifinals.

Including their 9-7 win over Westfield in the quarterfinals Friday, Class 1A, No. 5 Caston went 2-1 for the tournament and stands at 9-2 on the season.

Caston 10, Kokomo 9

The little thing that Hinderlider did came in the seventh inning of an 8-8 game after she and Makena Middleton led off with back-to-back singles. One out later, Natalie Warner lined out to Dani Tate in left field, but Hinderlider tagged up and advanced, just beating Tate’s throw into third base.

That brought up Alexa Finke, whose grounder to first base was booted for an error. That allowed Hinderlider to score – if she had not tagged up on Warner’s lineout, she would have still been on third – the go-ahead run.

“That was great,” Caston coach Jon Burks said. “We teach the aggressiveness and use it when needed. You just never know. We had to get that run in there. … I always tell them to be aggressive on that first pitch. … One run can be very, very important in this game, and we needed it. Kokomo ain’t no slouch in what they had coming up, and I was like, ‘Uh oh, we might be in trouble if we don’t get at least two.’”

Middleton advanced to second on the error and kept the inning alive for Zimpleman, who delivered an RBI single to right-center to score Middleton and make it 10-8.

The thing you have never seen Hinderlider do before in her previous three seasons was pitch.

She entered in relief of Zimpleman in the fourth inning with the game tied 3-3. Caston fell behind 7-3, but she received defensive help when Myli Rude caught Ava Federspill’s fly to deep left up against the fence. Burks called Rude’s catch “big time” and praised Rude’s improvement over the six weeks since practice began.

Hinderlider then pitched a 1-2-3 fifth and stranded two runners in the sixth.

Then with her team leading 10-8 in the seventh, Hinderlider walked Halle Helmberger with one out and allowed Tate’s RBI double with two outs before getting Amirah Marciniak to ground out to second baseman Madi Douglass, who outraced Marciniak to first base for the game-ending out and her first pitching victory.

With Kinzie Mollenkopf having graduated from last year’s team, Hinderlider and Warner have added pitching depth.

Hinderlider admitted that she does not have a vast arsenal of pitches. She said Abbie Overmyer, who has helped her with her hitting since she was an eighth-grader, also gave her some pitching lessons.

“I haven’t pitched seriously since my eighth grade year,” Hinderlider said. “I just have a fastball. … Defense is everything, especially because I can’t control really what the batter does because I don’t have any pitches. They just have to back me up.”

The big thing Hinderlider did was hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth that kickstarted Caston’s rally from a four-run deficit.

“It felt good off the bat, and the wind was blowing that way,” Hinderlider said. “I knew it was going to go over pretty much.”

Then came an even bigger hit from sophomore Kylee Logan. Logan, who had been hitless in six at-bats in two games on the day, hammered a two-out, three-run homer to straightaway center to give Caston an 8-7 lead in the sixth.

“What’s funny about that is yesterday, we were talking about hitting and blah blah blah, and I said, ‘You know what, girls? .300 is a good batting average, basically, whatever, baseball, however you want,’ but I said, ‘It’s not so much how many you get but when.’” Burks said. “And there you go. O for 6 .. boom. When you get the big one, boom. I’m a believer in that. … Just keep believing, keep working, and good things will come.”

Hinderlider threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth that tied the game, but she got Jordan Thatcher to ground out to Annie Harsh at first to retire the side.

“Pretty nerve-wracking,” Hinderlider said. “Because I also haven’t been in that situation a lot of times because I haven’t pitched a lot. … It seriously was an adrenaline rush.”

Caston took a 2-0 lead in the first. Zimpleman led off with a walk. Logan grounded to third, but the throw to try and get Zimpleman for a force at second sailed into the outfield for an error, scoring Zimpleman. Isabel Scales, who went 2 for 2, followed with an RBI double to deliver Logan.

Zimpleman hit a solo homer to right-center in the second to make it 3-0.

Kokomo scored once in the second and got two more unearned runs in the third to tie the game.

With two on base in the fourth, Burks replaced Zimpleman in the circle with Hinderlider.

Zimpleman took a liner off her right thigh while pitching during Caston’s win over Westfield Friday. She wore a thigh pad not unlike one might see a football player wear during Caston’s two games Saturday.

Despite the injury, Zimpleman went 4 for 6 with two doubles, a homer and two walks in the two games Saturday.

Caston 10, Kokomo 9

Caston 210 023 2 – 10 9 1

Kokomo 012 401 1 – 9 9 4

WP – Macee Hinderlider (3 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)

LP – Federspill (7 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 9 K)

2B – Isabel Scales (CAS), Dani Tate (KOK)

HR – Addison Zimpleman (CAS), Macee Hinderlider (CAS), Kylee Logan (CAS)

South Bend St. Joe 19, Caston 3 (5 innings)

Zimpleman had two doubles and two runs scored, and Isabel Scales had two singles and a sacrifice fly in three plate trips for Caston.

Harsh also had two hits, and Natalie Warner had a two-out RBI single in the fourth.

“Our batters, we were just trying to put the ball in play,” Burks said. “We were loose. We were just going to do our best. That’s how we took it. I wasn’t really trying to set precedents or anything.”

All nine Lady Husky starters had at least one hit, and eight starters had at least one RBI. South Bend St. Joe’s top three hitters – Mary Stack, Kenadie Schrock and Riley Zache – went a combined 10 for 14 with 11 RBIs and seven runs scored.

Stack, a sophomore left fielder, led off the game with a triple and added another triple that brought home two runs as part of a five-run second that extended the lead to 7-1.

Zache, an Oklahoma recruit, tripled in the first, parked a two-run homer off the scoreboard in left-center in the second, led off an eight-run fourth with a triple and added an RBI single later in the inning.

Warner, a freshman, took the loss in the circle. Hinderlider relieved in the fourth and allowed six runs in 1 ⅔ innings, though she did strike out Berkley Zache, an Oklahoma recruit, looking in the fifth.

Both Warner and Hinderlider are first-year pitchers. Zimpleman, who famously got the save in Caston’s semistate final win over Cowan last spring, is the team’s lone experienced pitcher.

“We’ve only got really one pitcher to work with, and we did that work last night with Westfield,” Burks said. “We came in looking for one, and we got it.”

South Bend St. Joe came in ranked No. 7 in Class 4A.

Later Saturday, South Bend St. Joe shut out Bellmont 10-0 in the championship game behind Berkley Zache’s perfect game. She struck out 19 of the 21 batters she faced.

South Bend St. Joe 19, Caston 3 (5 innings)

SB St. Joe 252 82 – 19 18 1

Caston 101 10 – 3 7 2

WP – Myla Blazejewski (5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)

LP – Natalie Warner (3 ⅓ IP, 10 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 4 BB, 2 K)

2B – Kenadie Schrock 2 (SBSJ), Esquibel (SBSJ), Berkeley Zache (SBSJ), Olivia Borsodi (SBSJ), Addison Zimpleman 2 (CAS)

3B – Mary Stack 2 (SBSJ), Riley Zache (SBSJ)

HR – Riley Zache (SBSJ)

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