Arabians softball edged by Greyhounds

PENDLETON — The Arabians flexed their muscle early against Carmel. But the Greyhounds battled back, and Pendleton Heights let one slip away.

Karlyn Doty drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning to cap a huge Carmel comeback; the Greyhounds snapped a five-game winning streak in beating Pendleton Heights 9-8 Wednesday at Legends Field.

Trailing 1-0, Pendleton Heights tied the game in the first when junior Lauren Landes scored on a sacrifice bunt from senior Jade Mollenkopf.

After Carmel retook a one-run lead at 2-1 in the second, Landes launched her first home run of the year, a two-run blast that put Pendleton Heights back on top, 3-2.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth. Senior Ashley King drove in Savannah Hawhee for a 4-2 lead. Later in the inning, sophomore Amanda White hammered a grand slam home run, her third homer of the season and second of the week, to extend the Pendleton Heights lead to 8-2.

Then Arabian starter Kelsey Sturgeon was victimized but some uncharacteristic defensive problems. Four Pendleton Heights errors resulted in four unearned runs as the Greyhounds came back. Highlighted by RBI doubles from Doty and Sarah Goddard, Carmel eventually tied the game in the sixth against relief pitchers MaKenzie McGuire and Audrey Ricker.

Ricker eventually allowed the go-ahead run on Doty’s fly ball to suffer her first loss of the season for Pendleton Heights (9-2)

The Arabians will be in Indianapolis this weekend for the two-day Ben Davis Invitational. They will play North Central Friday before games with Twin Lakes and Perry Meridian Saturday.

On Tuesday, Senior Ashley King continued her torrid offensive start to season with three hits and two runs batted in, and senior Audrey Ricker hurled her fourth consecutive complete game win, as the Arabians opened Hoosier Heritage Conference play with a 7-1 win against Shelbyville.

King, who has opened the season 15 for her first 31 at-bats for a .483 average, started the scoring in the first with an RBI single to score Landes. The Arabians capitalized on two throwing errors by the Golden Bears to keep the inning alive before sophomore Mickala Winans delivered a two-run double to cap a five-run rally for the Arabians.

“Her two-out clutch hitting has been on fire,” Arabian coach Rob Davis said of King. “I’m not a stat guy, but I know that in nine of our games, she has stepped up and had RBI. That makes a big difference, getting those extra runs late.”

King added an RBI single in the sixth inning for the final margin and says that increased aggressiveness at the plate has led to her hot start.

“I’ve kind of changed my mentality, looking for the first strike,” she said. “I have been hitting in the cage after games, getting my reps in. I’m hoping it keeps going.”

Ricker’s start on the mound mirrors that of King’s. After three complete game wins in the county tournament last week, the senior surrendered just three hits and three walks while striking out five in picking up her sixth win of the year for Pendleton Heights (9-1). She has a 0.55 earned run average with 27 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched.

“Her defense is playing extremely well behind her,” Davis said. “Ricker spins the ball, and she gets the ball put in play. We make some plays that usually kill us, but we’ve been making them all year behind her.”

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Rob Hunt covers news, sports and other happenings in South Madison County. He can be reached at rhunt@pendletontimespost.com or (765) 778-2324.