By JON REITER
NEW ALBANY —
One night after the New Albany girls’ softball team dispatched archrival Jeffersonville, IT turned back another rival, defeating Providence 3-0 Tuesday at Prosser Field in New Albany.
A three-run third inning highlighted by a two-run homer to center field by pitcher Hannah Morton with two outs turned out to be all the cushion Morton and the 12-3 Bulldogs needed.
Timely defense and a dominant pitching outing from Morton, who improved to 7-1 on the season, punctuated the victory.
“All season long, Hannah has kept us in games,” New Albany coach Steve Belden said. “She did it all today. They did a nice job changing things up on us with their pitchers, but I thought our defense was stellar, and Hannah had the big hit for us.”
It was 0-0 in the bottom of the third when leadoff hitter Sidney Rudy reached on a single with one out.
Next, Whitney Atkins tripled to center to drive in Rudy for a 1-0 Bulldog lead. With two outs, Morton’s drive easily cleared the center-field fence to give New Albany the 3-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Morton, who went the distance in a 5-3 win over Jeffersonville on Monday, mystified 10-5 Pioneer batters and appeared to grow stronger as the contest went on.
Providence opened the contest with singles by Jordan Stengel and Lillian Hughes but after the first frame, no other Pioneer player reached second base.
Morton only surrendered four hits to the Pioneers and retired the final 11 Providence batters. She struck out nine and only walked one batter.
“She kept throwing the rise ball on us, and for some reason, our girls didn’t make the adjustment,” Providence coach Sean Payne said. “Credit to them and their pitcher for throwing it. If we’re going to get suckered by that pitch, she needs to keep throwing it.”
The Pioneers squandered decent outings from starter Sierra Collete and reliever Kristen Markland, who gave up two earned runs and only five hits in the contest.
But Providence committed an uncharacteristic three errors.
“That was disappointing,” Payne said. “We’re a pretty decent defensive team, and that isn’t like us.”
Providence plays at Henryville Thursday, while New Albany travels to face Jennings County the same evening.