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  • Val T.

Warner pitches around errors, Scales drives in 3 as Caston beats NM


Sports Editor, RTC

Natalie Warner

FULTON — Caston softball player Natalie Warner might be a freshman and new to pitching, but it was her job to persevere through the errors from her more experienced teammates against visiting North Miami Thursday.

The level-headed Warner eventually received help from her defense as Caston pulled through to win 6-4.

Isabel Scales had two hits and three RBIs for Caston, and Warner also had a pair of singles. Macee Hinderlider had a two-run single, and Alexa Finke, Madi Douglass and Kylee Logan had one hit each.

Caston improved to 10-3. North Miami, who has not had a losing season since 2017, dropped to 0-9.

The story of Caston’s defense was a saga. They committed a two-out error in the top of the second that led to two unearned runs for North Miami.

They committed back-to-back errors in the sixth that led to another unearned run.

But center fielder Alexa Finke gunned down Ashtyn Halterman trying to stretch a single into a double in the third. Later in the third, left fielder Myli Rude made a running catch to catch Addison Miller’s foul fly to retire the side. 

In the seventh, Warner walked Jordyn Hackworth to lead off the inning, but catcher Kylee Logan threw behind Hackworth, and Caston got Hackworth in a rundown before Annie Harsh tagged her out.

Caston coach Jon Burks later called Logan’s throw a “big, smart play.”

The next batter was Victoria Masters, and freshman right fielder Madi Douglass ventured to the foul line to make a running grab for the second out.

Halterman followed with a walk and went to second on a wild pitch, but Warner got Ashley Sumpter-Music on a pop to Scales at shortstop to end the game.

“She’s got good composure, and like I say, all we’re asking her right now is to throw strikes, work on some of your pitches, but throw strikes,” Burks said. “Let our defense work for you. Unfortunately, it’s not working very well… . I don't know what it is, but we’re going to have to get that straightened out real quick.”

Meanwhile, Caston took advantage of all three North Miami errors to score six unearned runs.

An error in center field on a ball that Scales hit and a passed ball kept the bottom of the first alive for Hinderlider, and she delivered a two-out, two-run single to left-center to give Caston a 2-0 lead.

An even bigger error occurred with two outs in the second when Logan’s grounder to short was booted for an error that allowed Makena Middleton to score. It also kept the inning alive for Scales, who lined a two-run single to left to score Finke and Addison Zimpleman.

“I was just trying to make contact,” Scales said. “I think the last couple times I’ve been up there, especially the last game (a 6-4 loss to West Central Monday), I was in that situation, and I just overswang a little bit, so I was just trying to focus on making contact in that moment.”

In the fourth, Logan reached second when her fly ball to left field was dropped for an error. Scales then doubled down the left field line to make 6-3.

The Caston offense was opportunistic against North Miami’s Sumpter-Music, who repeatedly threw in on the hands of Caston hitters. Caston’s right-handed hitters hit a bevy of foul balls down the third baseline.

“We just seem like we get out in front,” Burks said. “I thought today, well, we’re going to face that, so I’m not going to throw BP (batting practice) because I usually throw pretty quick, and see how that worked out, and boy, they were still way ahead of everything.”

Caston has gone 3-2 during the last week, losing to ranked teams South Bend St. Joe and West Central but also beating 4A teams Westfield and Kokomo and long-time nemesis North Miami.

“I thought we played really well this last weekend,” Scales said. “We’re struggling right now. I don’t know exactly what it is. I don’t know if we’re tired from this past weekend, or we’re just in a funk, but we’ll get out of it soon, and we’ll be just fine before sectionals.”

Caston 6, North Miami 4

North Miami 030 001 0 – 4 7 3

Caston 230 100 X – 6 8 3

WP – Natalie Warner (7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K)

LP – Ashley Sumpter-Music (5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)

2B – Ashley Sumpter-Music (NM), Zoey Sparks (NM), Isabel Scales (CAS)

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