By Ken Severson | For the Daily Journal
There were a lot of gifts offered up during Tuesday’s Class A sectional softball semifinal at Indianapolis Lutheran.
Greenwood Christian had plenty of chances, as did opponent Morristown. It all came down to who made the most of these opportunities, and it was the Yellow Jackets as they downed Greenwood Christian, 10-4.
Morristown (10-10) now advances to Thursday’s championship game where they will play the winner of Waldron and the host Saints.
For the young and inexperienced Cougars (5-9) it will be a year before they take the diamond again, with coach Tami Haynes thinking about those lost opportunities that could have made Tuesday’s result a different one.
Six of Morristown’s runs were unearned.
“It was a tough game,” Haynes said. “Our lack of experience in stressful games is hard, and we just didn’t hit the ball like we should.”
The chances were numerous for the Cougars as Morristown pitcher Rhylee Moran, though the game-winner, had an erratic day on the mound.
Moran served up 11 walks and hit two batters. The Yellow Jackets also committed four errors, so there were ample shots for GCA baserunners to score. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they couldn’t take advantage due to timely outs and excellent fielding throws to gun down baserunners.
Twice the Cougars loaded the bases; however, they only managed one run.
Meanwhile, Morristown didn’t have any problems when presented with gifts.
The Yellow Jackets score twice in the first thanks to a double and triple, but also three errors.
They scored four runs each in the third after four more Greenwood Christian errors, and put the game away in the sixth after the Cougars crept to within three runs.
All told, Greenwood Christian committed eight errors, spoiling a high school finale for senior pitcher Hailey Haynes.
Haynes was stellar in the pitching circle, striking out 10 Yellow Jackets while scattering just six hits and not allowing a walk. At the plate, Haynes had four of the Cougars’ five hits on the night. She also scored a run, drove in another and had two stolen bases.
Sophie Keller had the only other base hit for Greenwood Christian, an RBI single in the sixth.
Also not helping the Cougars’ cause was they lost starting catcher Karis Goins for most of the game with a leg injury after she was run into at the plate by Moran in the first. Goins held onto the ball in getting Moran out, but missed five innings before being reinserted back in the lineup in the seventh.
GCA was forced to use shortstop Sophia Doyle, who had never caught before but performed admirably.
“She was just awesome,” Tami Haynes said of Doyle.
Haynes loses three players, including her daughter, but will have 11 players back with some experience.
“We had a fun season, but we lose my pitcher and catcher,” Haynes said. “We’re going to have to develop some pitching in the offseason.”