PENDLETON — The Pendleton Heights softball team swung through the Madison County Tournament like it owned it, and for the fifth consecutive year, they did.
The Arabians defeated the Elwood Panthers 15-2 in five innings at Legends Field on April 16.
Pendleton Heights took charge early and never let up.
After a scoreless first inning, Bo Shelton homered to center field, scoring Khloee Gregory and Kaitlynn Goodwin to open scoring at 3-0. The Arabians scored again when Kieli Ryan singled to left field and brought Kiah Hubble across the plate to make it 4-0 at the top of the second inning.
“We came to compete. In the second inning, we got things rolling,” coach Rob Davis said. “We put the ball in play hard, and everything started working.”
For Shelton, the win was especially sweet because last year she was unable to play because of COVID-19 quarantine. “Being in this year and being able to win is awesome.”
The Arabians picked up another run in the third inning when Hailee Brunnemer tripled then scored, with Caroline DeRolf bringing her in on a single to right field.
In the fourth inning, Pendleton broke the game wide open, taking a 10-0 lead on hits by Coffel, Ryan and DeRolf, as well as Gregory’s three-run blast to left field.
The Panthers picked up two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but the Arabians sealed the win with five more runs in the fifth inning, including a three-run homer to center field from Ryan and hits by Kenzie Green, Coffel, Gregory and Shelton.
For senior Ryan, this is her third championship as a varsity player.
“It’s so exciting. It was a team effort. There’s not just one person doing it.”
Ryan said at first she felt a little anxious at the plate but was able to calm herself down into a hitting mindset.
Elwood put runners on base in the fifth inning but was unable to change the score.
Eliza Findlay was awarded the win for the Arabians. She went four innings and allowed four hits and two runs but struck out five. This was Findlay’s fifth win of the season. Shelby Messer came in to relieve Findley in the final inning. The Arabians had 14 hits for the game, with Gregory and Ryan picking up three each.
The Arabians committed zero errors in the game.
“They’re competitors in everything. They’re a tight group of young ladies who enjoy being around one another,” Davis said. “That makes all the world of difference.”
Davis said hitting their team goals has been one of the highlights of the season so far.
“This team has a lot to be proud of, and I tell them I’m proud of where they’re at in this moment.”
In first-round play of the tournament, the Arabians opened with a 9-1 win against Madison-Grant and bested Frankton 7-4 in the semifinals. Gregory, Goodwin and Ryan picked up homeruns in both of those games.
Elwood reached the final by defeating Lapel in the semifinals. Lapel defeated Liberty Christian in the opening round, and went on to place third by defeating Frankton 5-0 in the consolation round.
At 6-2 for the season, the Arabians are back in action April 20 at Carmel and then play in the Carmel Invite April 22-23.

Lori Wood | For The Times-Post