Smith leads Whiteland softball into county semis

Jordan Smith’s fourth and final at-bat on Friday resulted in a double to right-center field.

After airmailing three consecutive home runs, it was, in a sense, the calm after the storm for the Whiteland senior as she powered her team to a 19-3 victory over visiting Greenwood Christian in the opening round of the Johnson County softball tournament.

It’s the second time this season Smith produced three round-trippers in a single game — the first coming against Franklin at a tourney hosted by Warren Central.

Not bad for a self-described contact hitter.

“I’m just trying to time up the pitcher and get hits like my team needs me to do,” Smith said. “It’s just about moving runners. More comes from it, I guess. She was throwing spin to me, but I was doing a good job of adjusting to it. She was throwing a lot of different speeds, also.”

The Cougars actually led, 2-0, after the top half of the first as Warriors freshman starter Emma Chism walked four of the five batters she faced before being replaced by junior Emily Reed.

However, GCA’s advantage proved short-lived once Whiteland’s array of hitters began stepping to the plate. The Warriors tallied six runs in the opening frame, erupted for 11 in the third and finished with 20 base hits in a game that lasted five innings due to the 10-run rule.

Eight of Whiteland’s starters finished with at least one hit.

Besides Smith’s hat trick of home runs, freshman Madison Myers went yard for the Warriors, as did junior Trinity Borders. Sophomore Emma Piercy, the team’s No. 9 hitter, had three singles, while the leadoff batter, senior Macy Cornelius, delivered two of her own. Borders also had a double and single, as did junior Tara Watson and freshman Ava Smith.

It’s Jordan Smith, however, who shined brightest with what were her eighth, ninth and 10th homers of the season.

“She’s having an incredible season. She has a lot of confidence as a senior, and also has a lot of confidence in her team,” Whiteland coach Katie Mitchell said of Smith. “I think that’s freed her up to be able to hit.”

Greenwood Christian (5-6) finished with three hits — a double by soph Maddie Smith and singles from Hailey Haynes and Savvanah Frye.

The win places the Warriors (13-7), the tournament’s second seed, into today’s 10 a.m. semifinal against No. 3 seed Franklin on the lower field at Center Grove. It will be the fourth time this season the teams have met, with Whiteland holding a 2-1 advantage.

Franklin senior Izzy Harrison and the Warriors’ ace, junior Debbie Hill, are expected to be the starting pitchers.

“Izzy’s a great pitcher. I think that both teams are strong, so it’s always going to be a good game,” Mitchell said. “We see them in conference. We saw them at the Warren Central invitational, so it will just be about who shows up that day. We’re excited for the chance to see them again.”