Zellers drives in 3, but Pioneer falls to Lewis Cass in sectional final
Lady Kings score 7 in 3rd, avenge regular season loss to Lady Panthers
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Hollie Zellers drove in three runs, but the upstart Lewis Cass softball team defeated Pioneer 15-5 in the Class 2A, Sectional 37 final at Fansler Field Thursday.
Elly Logan and Ava Hubner both homered for Lewis Cass, who improved to 7-20 and won their first sectional title since 2016. They will host Delphi in a regional at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Pioneer finished 16-15.
“This game does not define you,” Pioneer coach Gabby Thomas said when asked what she told her team afterwards. “That you’re better than the way you played and to hold themselves up high and learn from it. We love to give those sports life lessons, so learning when life throws you that punch, that setback, learning to move on.”
The Lady Kings scored seven runs in the top of the third inning to take a 7-0 lead and never trailed. Kami Silcox’s three-run double off Emma Sells, pitching in relief of starter Shaylee Goings, highlighted the inning.
“Shaylee got off to a really good start,” Thomas said. “We made some mistakes behind her, missed some spots on pitches. They executed on that because of our balls. We just didn’t bear down and hold our ground, I guess.”
Pioneer scored twice in the fifth to cut the lead to 8-4 and got the tying run to the plate, but Lewis Cass starter Amma Fitzhugh got Ava Beasy to ground into a forceout at the plate and struck out Casey Webb to end the inning.
Lewis Cass then scored five runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh on Hubner’s homer.
Webb had a two-out RBI bloop single in the bottom of the seventh, but Fitzhugh got Goings to ground out to short to end the game and complete the sectional surprise:
Lewis Cass came into the sectional on a nine-game losing streak.
Lewis Cass had not beaten a team with a winning record all season prior to the sectional final.
Lewis Cass trailed North Judson 4-0 after four innings in their semifinal game.
Lewis Cass had gone 0-3 against sectional opponents during the regular season, and two of the three losses had been by 10-run rule. They also lost to Pioneer 8-2 in their regular season meeting on April 20 in Royal Center.
Zellers’ sacrifice fly made it 7-1 in the third, and Kylie Attinger later scored on a wild pitch.
Trailing 8-2 in the top of the fifth, Adeline Cripe made a sprawling catch in center field to prevent a run.
In the bottom half, Emma Sells led off with a bunt double that died on the third baseline. Kylie Attinger reached on a two-base error on the shortstop with Sells moving to third. Zellers then lined a two-run single to right to make it 8-4. Crystabelle Blickenstaff’s fly ball to left was dropped for an error with Zellers advancing to second. After Cripe grounded into a foreceout at third, Kamryn Newby reached on a bunt single.
Fitzhugh then got out of the jam.
“Absolutely, that was our best chance to get back into the game at that point,” Thomas said. “Just put the ball in play and get those timely hits. … We really didn’t get that timely hit.”
Lewis Cass 15, Pioneer 5
Lewis Cass 007 105 2 – 15 17 5
Pioneer 002 020 1 – 5 11 2
WP – Amma Fitzhugh
LP – Shaylee Goings
2B – Ava Hubner (LC), Kami Silcox (LC), Elly Logan (LC), Emma Sells (PIO)
HR – Ava Hubner (LC), Elly Logan (LC)