by Beau Wicker Sports Editor
---- — WEST LAFAYETTE — Logansport’s softball team entered Tuesday’s sectional game against Class 4A No. 2 Harrison on a roll and with confidence that it could hit well enough against fireballing right-hander Kaitlynn Moody.
But Moody baffled the Berries and struck out 17 in the Raiders’ 6-0 win in a semifinal game of the Harrison Sectional. The two-time defending champion Raiders (24-2) will face Lafayette Jeff on Thursday for the championship.
Moody, an IUPUI recruit, pitched a two-hit shutout against the Berries one night after no-hitting Kokomo.
“We’ve got to shorten up and put the ball in play and we couldn’t get it in play,” Logan coach Jim Bacon said. “We tried to bunt, we tried to slap, we just couldn’t get on the ball.”
The Berries managed just two hits on the night, both by Bailey Kelley. Kristie Flora also made decent contact on the night and Mallory Rowe had a fly out to right, but that was all the contact they would make against Moody and her disappearing riseball.
“She uses her junk a lot and she throws pretty hard,” Logan pitcher Bailie Long said. “Our girls through the year, we don’t get to face that very often. So we aren’t used to that and we can’t adjust very well. Towards the end we started catching on.”
A year ago the Berries hit Moody decently when she was wearing a Lafayette Jeff uniform in a 12-11 loss to the Bronchos, although she didn’t start in that game due to an injury but did finish. The Berries also hit decently in a 3-2 loss to Moody and the Raiders in the first game of this season.
“I think we came out scared,” Kelley said. “You can’t take long cuts, just short cuts and try to put it in play. Either way make them get us out.”
The Berries had won 15 of 16 entering the game with the only loss coming against another state title contender, Huntington North and Kentucky recruit, Erin Rethlake, in a 3-1 contest in a game they had five hits.
“She’s about as good as Rethlake,” Kelley said of Moody, a junior.
Long (13-5) took the loss, as the sophomore right-hander allowed six runs (four earned) on 10 hits.
It was a scoreless game until the Raiders broke through in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Kalyn Revord. Kennedy Curl made a good throw from left and Bacon thought it could have been an out at the plate but the catcher moved up a couple feet to catch the throw.
An error allowed an extra base on a hit in the fifth that later led to two unearned runs. The Berries misplayed a hard hit fly ball in the sixth that fell for an RBI double that was followed by two more runs.
The Berries had little room for error and needed to play just about a perfect game and hope to push a run across at the plate.
“You get a run or two down and everybody tries to make the perfect play and that’s when they score more runs. Just a lot of pressure when you let a team like that get up a run or two,” Bacon said. “We had a throw at home that could have been an out if we were in the right position and the pickoff play at third, that’s an out if we catch the ball.
“You’ve got to play a perfect game to beat a team like that. They’re good.”
Long pitched well, though, and can try to emulate the improvement Moody made over the last year, although she does not throw with the same velocity.
“I try to rely more on my spins and where the batter is standing. Sydney [Thompson] and I try to look where the batter is standing and where to throw accordingly,” Long said.
Bacon liked to use Emily Prentice in a relief role to throw teams off but she was unavailable on the mound due to a sore back but still started at shortstop and was the leadoff hitter.
“We’ll be back to two [pitchers] next year hopefully,” he said.
The Berries finished with a 19-9 record.
“We did good at the end of the season. We finally picked it up. I was happy with the season,” said Kelley, one of four seniors who started in the contest.
Added Bacon, “We’ve got a good team coming back. We have a lot of talent leaving.
“We had a good season. We got on a roll there for awhile. I’m proud of the way they played.”
Harrison 6, Logan 0. Berries finish 19-9.