Drawing just about the toughest senior-night opponent possible – in the form of a one-loss East Central Lady Trojan squad – the Batesville Lady Bulldogs' trio of upperclassmen and their mates kept within grand slam range of their Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference rival May 7.
However, after loading the bases with two outs against starter Megan Kincer in the home half of the seventh, freshman Sarah Ripperger struck out looking to become Kincer's eighth strikeout victim in a 4-0 final.
That the Bulldogs put three on base was a small victory against the sophomore Kincer, who had allowed just three previous baserunners through the first six innings. But with one out, opposing hurler Paige Oldham reached safely on a tapper just outside the pitcher's circle. Senior center fielder Ellie Waechter followed with another infield single, this one to the left side. An infield fly turned into the second out. Freshman Sydnee Schaefer then dropped one into short right field to jam the sacks.
The visiting Trojans plated a first run off Oldham in the opening half-stanza. Carson Bennett reached on a one-out single to third base and stole second. Lindsay Henson popped out to second but cleanup hitter Kincer laced a single to left field to score Bennett.
Senior second baseman Kate Burkhart grounded a single past shortstop in the bottom of the inning. A wild pitch moved her to second but Kincer would get out of the frame with a strikeout of senior Kara Obermeyer. Oldham did her own damage control in the second, stranding Sam Engel at third base.
From the first to the fourth innings, Kincer had a stretch of nine straight retired Bulldogs. Four of those were via the strikeout.
Oldham tossed a super-quick third before the Trojans landed one more in the fourth. Natalie Schnell singled to left with one out and swiped second base. One out later, Emma Ertel banged a double off the fence in center to make it 2-0.
Freshman catcher Emma Belter singled solidly to center in Batesville's fourth. Obermeyer laid down a sacrifice bunt but a pop-up to second base shut down the threat.
EC doubled its lead in the top of five. After one was out, leadoff Jessie Kincer smacked a home run over the fence in right for a 3-0 lead. Bennett then walked and stole second. An out later, M. Kincer shot a run-scoring single to right.
Although the guests put runners on in both the sixth and seventh, some alert BHS defense averted more scoring. Waechter doubled Ertel off second after recording a flyball out. Later, courtesy runner Josie Davis failed to advance from second to third on Henson's single; Burkhart threw to Obermeyer for the putout. In the Bulldogs' sixth, Kincer worked around a walk to leadoff Kylie Laker.
Kincer earned the shutout win while Oldham gave up 10 hits and 2 walks in the complete-game loss. Burkhart had six putouts at the keystone.
Burkhart, Obermeyer and Waechter were recognized prior to the game as the team's three seniors. The tri-captains played all or parts of their four-year careers at the varsity level.
AT RUSHVILLE (May 8)
In a rain make-up contest Wednesday, the Lady Bulldogs lost to conference foe Rushville by a 17-7 score in 6 innings.
The host Lions tallied 8 runs in the first inning on a homer, 3 doubles, 3 singles, a walk and 2 Bulldog errors. The Bulldogs scored once in the third, twice in the fourth, thrice in the fifth and added a solo run in the sixth.
Belter (single, double), Oldham (single, double), and Laker (2 doubles) led the offense for the Bulldogs. Oldham (6) and Obermeyer (4) led the defense with a combined 10 putouts.
Batesville (4-11, 2-9) hosts Connersville Monday in an EIAC matchup.
Will Fehlinger can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 112.