Floyd Central has won 12 its 13 games to start the 2014 campaign after beating rival Providence 9-5 in an official home game at Providence on Friday.
On Friday, the Highlanders had 11 hits, had 18 runners reach base, went errorless, and aside from when they faced Jacquie Hornung and Lillian Hughes, the Floyd pitching combination of Morgan Harper and Caroline Cato was solid.
“We know what we have,” Floyd Central coach Scott Castleberry said. “We have a very, very versatile team. We have good balance and speed and power.”
Despite the 12-1 start, Castleberry wasn’t particularly happy with his offense that stranded eight baserunners Friday.
“From my standpoint, I’m a little disappointed in some execution things,” he said. “We stranded too many because of lack of execution. I think that’s rust.”
One reason for the rust was that the Highlanders haven’t played in a week and even missed a couple of practices with its field underwater. That’s the reason Floyd played a home game in Clarksville on Friday.
“We have to go out and use the baseball outfield. We don’t even have a place to go,” Castleberry said. “When we look at it, it’s almost like you had a break in the season and you’re starting over again.”
Despite dropping its third straight game after officially beating New Albany 6-2 Tuesday after the rain washed away five Bulldog runs in the top of the seventh, Providence coach Sean Payne likes where his team stands after a five-run, nine-hit performance against a strong Highlander pitching staff.
“This is a better team than us, top to bottom,” Payne said of the Highlanders, “but I really felt like we went toe-to-toe with them. Our record isn’t pretty, but I like where we’re heading. I really like the momentum we’re building right now.”
“These three losses, it’s not like we’ve played horrible,” Hornung said. “I think we’ve started to improve our game overall and it’s going to help us in the long run.”
Hornung got the Pioneers on the board with her second home run in as many days to give Providence an early advantage in the top of the first.
A pair of Pioneer errors led to three Floyd runs in the bottom of the inning and the Highlanders never trailed again. Floyd scored two more unearned runs in the second for an early 5-1 lead.
“I felt like in the [first two] innings, we gave them their runs,” Payne said. “That’s the ball game.”
Hornung drew the Pioneers within 6-3 with a two-run home run that bounced off of the top of the Providence field fence.
The Highlanders made it 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth on four straight singles by Regan Hadley, Maddie Probus, Katelin Dreher and Harper. They extended the advantage to 9-3 in the sixth thanks to another Pioneer error — their fifth — a Hadley double and a double steal that allowed Taylor McClure to score.
Providence cut the gap to 9-5 in the seventh when it hit its third home run of the game, this time a deep shot by Hughes. Hornung and Hughes — the Pioneer 3-4 hitters — went 4 for 6 with four runs and all five knocked in. They now are co-Providence leaders with four homers apiece this season.
“Obviously, they’re going as well as I’ve ever seen them,” Payne said of the duo. “The good thing is that’s just a sophomore and junior there. I think they both have Division I material.”
In the last two days, Hornung is 5 for 6 with three home runs, two doubles, five RBIs, five runs and a pair of walks. The one time she was retired — Thursday in a 9-7 loss to Henryville — she may have hit the ball harder than any of her other plate appearances. However, it was hit right at the Hornet shortstop.
“It’s felt pretty good the last two days,” she said. “I feel like I’ve had some solid at-bats and made some solid contact with the ball.”
Gabbi Jenkins, Hadley and McClure each scored two runs for the Highlanders, who go to Bloomington to face North and South today. Dreher and Harper each went 2 for 4.
Providence is goes to Austin on Monday for another four-game week that includes West Washington on Monday, Silver Creek on Wednesday and Presentation Academy on Thursday.
FLOYD CENTRAL 9, PROVIDENCE 5
Providence 102 000 2—5 9 5
Floyd Central 321 102 x—9 11 0
W — Morgan Harper (3-1). L — Riley Lovan (3-4). S — Caroline Cato (1). 2B — Taylor Raymond (P), Regan Hadley (F). HR — Jacquie Hornung 2 (P), Lillian Hughes (P).
Records — Providence 9-7, Floyd Central 12-1.