Whiteland softball gets sectional win over Franklin


Familiarity reigns when half the teams in the Mid-State Conference are semifinalists in the same Class 4A sectional.

Such was the case here Tuesday as host Mooresville, ranked third, and No. 2 Whiteland scored decisive victories over league rivals to qualify for tonight’s championship game.

First pitch is at 7 p.m.

Tonight’s title contest marks the third time in nine days that Mooresville (28-3) and Whiteland (23-2) will have played. The Warriors won at home, 10-2, on May 17, and the Pioneers returned the favor a day later with a 1-0 shutout to secure a split of the Mid-State crown.

“They’re a great team. We’re a great team.” said Warriors coach Katie Mitchell, whose squad handled Franklin, 13-1, in five innings in the second game. “I think the advantages are the same for both sides.

“They’ve seen our pitching. We’ve seen their pitching, and I think tomorrow will just be about who can execute better.”

Whiteland meant business from the start against its county rival, collecting eight hits and scoring five runs in the top of the first inning alone.

Leadoff hitter Emma Piercy set the tone with a double, followed by Josslynn Harbert’s single and a two-run double to the center-field fence by senior first baseman Debbie Hill.

Senior Trinity Borders then singled, stole second base and made it home on Halle Nett’s single to left, which actually resulted in two runs scored due to a Franklin error. Freshman pitcher Kiley Sullivan then delivered a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-0 score.

The Grizzly Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the second when freshman pitcher Bryleigh Carlisle-Haltom deposited a solo home run over the left-field fence.

Whiteland put five more runs on in the third — with Hill’s bases-loaded double giving her five RBIs on the night — and three runs in the top of the fourth frame.

Overall, eight of the nine hitters in the Warriors’ starting lineup contributed at least one hit. The team had 15 hits by game’s end.

Whiteland, which defeated the Grizzly Cubs during the regular season by scores of 11-1 and 22-6, weren’t about to take them lightly.

“The plan was to go hard all the time. All gas, no brakes,” Mitchell said. “We know that it’s anyone’s game at any time, so I’m proud that our team stuck with who we are. We played Whiteland softball, and it was a full team win like we always do.”

Harbert finished with three singles with Piercy, Hill, Borders and Madison Myers supplying their team two hits apiece.

Sullivan pitched all five innings to pick up the win, giving up three hits, walking two and striking out four batters.

In Tuesday’s opening semi, Mooresville erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the third inning on the way to a 9-3 triumph over Martinsville.