By GREG MENGELT
NEW WASHINGTON —
Silver Creek scored three times in the top of the eighth inning to open the season with a 6-4 victory over defending Class A sectional champion New Washington on Monday.
The visiting Dragons never trailed, but allowed the Mustangs to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth before their offense exploded in the first extra inning for the victory.
“It’s really nice that the girls were able to work through some things and get a victory,” Silver Creek coach Dave Harvey said. “It was very hard-fought.”
“You don’t want to start your season down, without a win,” Dragons’ senior outfielder Kira Jamros said.
After the Mustangs’ Coari Robertson knocked home Kayla Sexton to tie the game in the sixth, both teams went scoreless in the seventh.
Silver Creek’s Heather Knight then opened the eighth with an infield single and stole second as New Wash ace Whitney Morris struck out Olivia Scarbrough.
Jamros, who came to the plate 0-for-3 including a strikeout in her previous at-bat, hit a ground ball up the middle. New Wash second baseman Kaitlynn Schindler was forced to dive for the ball. Knight, who was moving on contact, came all the way home for the go-ahead run.
“I had an awful game to begin with,” Jamros said. “I said, ‘I have to get a hit now.’”
“Sometimes our seniors put too much pressure on themselves instead of coming out and having fun,” Harvey said. “She finally came through.”
Jamros later scored on a passed ball to make it 5-3. The Dragons’ Brooke Barnett, who was 3-for-4 with a walk, then singled and stole second against New Wash reliever Brooke Shaw.
“Softball is Brooke’s sport,” Jamros said. “The stuff she gets is because of the hard work she puts in.”
Barnett later scored her third run of the inning on McKenzie Bush’s double.
“She’s a speed demon,” Silver Creek’s Shayla Cravens said of Barnett. “She helps out big for us.”
New Wash finished the eighth with four hits.
“Finally, we got some things going,” Harvey said. “It’s one of those deals where if we take care of business early in the ballgame, we don’t have to worry about that. If we leave that many runners on base, we’re not going to be very successful this season.”
Cravens picked up the win after striking out Shaw and getting Schindler to fly out to left field.
“It made me feel a lot better and made my nerves calm down a little bit,” Cravens said. “After we scored those runs, I took a deep breath and was like, ‘We got this.’”
“Shayla came in and was a little nervous,” Harvey said. “I don’t know why. She’s been playing ball all her life.”
Cravens came in after Bush retired the first 10 Mustangs she faced, including three strikeouts. With a 2-1 lead in the fourth, New Wash got on the board against Bush with an error and Robertson RBI single.
That was all New Wash managed against the sophomore.
“Mac came out and was hitting her spots,” Harvey said. “She’s a gamer, that’s for sure.”
Barnett opened the game with a walk, went to third on a Sydney Ledgewedge double and scored on a passed ball. She then made it 2-0 when she singled, moved to second on a Ledgewedge base hit and scored on a Casie Toby RBI single.
Ledgewedge got a hit on her first three at-bats, including a double.
“Sydney’s one of our stronger hitters,” Jamros said. “She’s in that spot for a reason. She definitely deserves credit as a hitter. Today she was on.”
New Washington coach Tim Sexton wasn’t happy about the loss to Silver Creek, which came on the heels of defeats at the hands of Floyd Central and New Albany on Saturday at the Bedford North Lawrence Invitational. However, he was pleased with his team’s toughness.
“We were down two runs and came back to tie it, then we had a chance to win it [in the eighth],” Sexton said. “I like the way we kept fighting.”