SB 3A SECT. 24: #15 Mississinewa blanks Yorktown, 4-0, to claim title
May 29, 2011Hoosier Authority
By Scott Hunt
IUPUI Student Journalist
HARTFORD CITY – Mississinewa senior Ashlea Nash capped off a spectacular sectional pitching performance by striking out 12 Yorktown batters while allowing just three hits May 28 in leading the Class 3A No. 15 Indians to a 4-0 championship game win.
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Mississinewa (18-3) will now host either top-ranked Fort Wayne Dwenger or Leo in the May 31 regional.
Nash (14-3) recorded 17 strikeouts in a 7-1 win over host Blackford in the sectional opener and 17 more in a 7-0 semifinal victory over Grant County rival Eastbrook. For the tournament, she surrendered 12 hits, gave up just one run, and struck out 46 batters in her 21 innings in the circle.
“Ashley is a kid we started working with in sixth grade, and she has just been a little sponge and picked up everything we’ve taught her,” said Ole Miss coach Steve Miller. “But she’s not good because of me or any other adult – she’s good because she’s worked at it and bought into everything she has been taught.
“She is just one of those kinds of kids.”
Against Yorktown (14-10), Nash never faced any serious trouble. She issued a pair of walks along with scattering the three hits, but only two Tiger runners reached second base and neither advanced to third.
The Indians also played flawless defense behind their standout pitcher, a fact that Nash is always aware of.
“Whenever our whole team – together – does good, that just makes me want to do a lot better,” Nash said. “As soon as our offense starts picking it up, the defense just wants to keep it going.”
The Indians offense would provide all the run support Nash would need in the bottom of the third.
Senior Janelle May led off the frame with a walk, was bunted to second by Taylor Horn, advanced to third on an error, and scored on Tori Stanley’s single to right. Stanley then tallied herself when Becca Burchette lined a double off the top of the fence in left field to put the Indians up 2-0.
Mississinewa scored its final two runs in the fourth on a solo home run by Jennifer McCoin and an RBI double by May.
Burchette also had a single and was the only Mississinewa player with two hits.
Yorktown’s McKenzie LaPradd had a single and double to lead the Tigers offensively. Freshman Lauren Grant (13-10) allowed six hits – all between the third and fifth innings – and struck out four while walking two.
The sectional crown is the third in the past four seasons for the Mississinewa’s seniors, but the team has yet to win a regional title. It will have a chance to do so on its home field Tuesday.
The Indians lost to Dwenger, 5-0, last season, but Miller is confident his team can compete with whomever they play in the regional.
“If our pitching stays good – our defense has played well all year – with Nash pitching, we don’t get a lot of chances (on defense),” Miller said. “A lot of times, teams that don’t get a lot of chances because of a good pitcher don’t play good defense. But we do.”
Added McCoin: “We need to hit the ball like we have been hitting and, if Ashlea pitches like she can pitch, then we’ll do fine.”
24. Blackford Sectional
Game 1 – Eastbrook 5, Delta 3
Game 2 – #15 Mississinewa 7, Blackford 1
Game 3 – #15 Mississinewa 7, Eastbrook 0
Game 4 – Yorktown 15, Muncie South 0
Championship – #15 Mississinewa 4, Yorktown 0