By GREG MENGELT
Whitney Morris and Brooke Shaw combined on a no-hitter to propel New Washington past Borden, 10-0 in six innings, in the first semifinal of the Lanesville Sectional on Monday.
Morris pitched the first 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Shaw, who got the final out.
“Her and the rest of the seniors want another sectional,” New Washington coach Tim Sexton said. “They take it personally. Whitney was extremely awesome. She’s a patient pitcher and she had good stuff.”
The Mustangs will face Lanesville, which beat South Central in Monday’s second semifinal, in the championship game. A year ago, New Wash beat the Eagles 1-0 in 10 innings. Earlier this year, they beat Lanesville 1-0 again en route to a Southern Athletic Conference title.
“Whoever comes out hitting and pitching is likely going to win,” Sexton projected. “Who makes the most errors is probably going to wind up on the losing end.”
“We’re expecting a tough game,” senior Coari Robertson said. “We have to be on the top of our game. It’s going to come down to some key hits.”
Morris allowed one walk in the first inning and didn’t allow another baserunner until a walk to Kristen Nestor in the fifth. She struck out eight and allowed just the two baserunners.
“She’s done an awesome job pitching the whole season and she knows we have her back,” junior Ashley Johnson said.
“We just weren’t hitting the ball at all,” Borden second-year coach Alex Knerr said. “Morris is a good little pitcher, but my girls have seen pitching like her and today, we weren’t mentally prepared to hit her.”
New Wash took a 1-0 lead after its half of the first when Ashley Johnson doubled then came home on a Robertson two-out single.
After a scoreless second, the Mustangs broke the game open in the third. Back-to-back-to-back singles by Emily Burke, Johnson and Kayla Sexton. A two-RBI single and a Kaitlyn Schindler RBI groundout made it 5-0 New Wash.
In the fourth, Johnson single, stole a base and scored from second when Morris was called out at first base on an interference call.
New Washington made it 8-0 after five innings when Robertson and Shaw hit back-to-back home runs.
“They’re huge for us,” Coach Sexton said of Robertson and Shaw. As long as they’re making good contact, the ball’s gonna to go.”
The Mustangs ended the game in the sixth when a Morris single and Borden’s second error of the contest was followed by a Robertson RBI triple and a Shaw single.
Robertson finished 4 for 4 with a home run, a triple, three runs and four runs knocked in.
“Coari was awesome today,” Johnson said. “Her home run came at the perfect time.”
Shaw had a 2 for 4 day and reached base three times. She had two RBIs and scored a run.
Johnson was 3 for 4 and scored three runs. She also had a stolen base.
“We need her speed,” Robertson said of Johnson. “She’s a big asset to our team. She helps us score a lot of runs.”
“A.J. is a real key to us starting off games,” Coach Sexton said. “She has unbelievable speed and when she’s on, she’s a running threat. When she gets on with no one out, she’s going to score most likely. She’s a smart baserunner.”
In just the third year of the program’s resurrection, Knerr said she likes where the Braves are headed.
“We’re trying to work to improve,” she said. “We have a couple things we need to build up to. These girls are really working hard to make a name for Borden softball.”