Indian Creek softball falls short in sectional opener

By Seth Tow

For the Daily Journal


Indian Creek’s postseason run was short-lived this season.

The Braves fell in a Class 3A sectional semifinal to host Owen Valley, 5-3, on Tuesday. The Patriots won both matchups this season over Indian Creek, having captured the regular-season meeting on May 8.

“I take my hat off to the kids,” Indian Creek head coach Gary Mitchell said after the game. “They played hard for us all year long. We just needed a couple breaks, and didn’t get them in this one.”

Indian Creek (14-11) took the lead in the top of the first inning thanks to heads-up baserunning by Kristen Soots. The freshman outfielder led off the game with a walk and a quick stolen base, and came around to score on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at second. Soots finished 2 for 3 with a single, a double and two stolen bases.

But the game became a back-and-forth affair early. Owen Valley (14-6) responded in the bottom half of the opening frame on a two-run home run by senior third baseman Taylor Bernard.

The Braves answered back in the third inning. Sophomore pitcher Delaney Jones singled with two outs, allowing senior catcher Allison Gavin to bat in the frame. The senior smacked a two-run home run down the line in left field to make it 3-2 Creek.

But Owen Valley once again wasted little time in restoring its edge. In the bottom of the third, senior Taylor Monroe hit a two-run homer to right center field to make it 4-3 Patriots.

Owen Valley swapped pitchers in the fourth inning, sending freshman Haley Amador to the circle, and things got tougher for Creek from there. Amador mixed speeds and locations effectively and kept the Braves off balance. Across four innings of work, she allowed just four hits and picked up three strikeouts.

But Creek did have one more big opportunity. Gavin doubled to left field with two out in the top of the fifth, and then junior shortstop Jasmine Day hit a ball to the wall in center field that could have tied the game at 4-4. But the umpires called the play dead and called Gavin out for leaving second base early.

Mitchell and the Indian Creek coaches didn’t totally agree with the ruling, adding that the umpires waited until Gavin was halfway to third base and the ball already on the ground to make the call.

“It was a really late call. A really late call,” Mitchell said. “But we all know this game gets played, and there’s calls that are made and calls that are missed. So it’s part of softball.”

Owen Valley tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a Bernard triple.

Jones pitched the entire game for the Braves, allowing the five runs, though only four were earned. She gave up five hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.

Despite the disappointing end to the season, Mitchell is hopeful for the future.

“I know we’re going to come back stronger next year,” Mitchell said. I know we’re losing one senior that plays (Gavin, an Indiana University recruit) and another senior that’s got the biggest heart on the team (Jaylin Hauger), but we’re going to add about four to five more kids next year to the team that are ballplayers that I think are going to make us stronger.”