Arabians go 2-1, finish runner-up at Horseshoe Classic

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PENDLETON — Saturday was a day filled with softball at Pendleton Heights High School featuring some of the best teams in the state.

And for the host school, it was a good one.

In the annual Horseshoe Classic, the No. 10 ranked Arabians went 2-1 on the day en route to a runner-up finish. They fell to Class 4A No. 4 Lake Central 6-1 in the championship.

Along with Pendleton Heights and Lake Central, Avon (No. 7) and Center Grove (No. 3) made it four top-ten 4A teams in the tournament. Chesterton and Jennings County rounded out the field.

In the first game of the day for the Arabians, they walked off with a 7-6 win over Avon.

Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, an Ari Rector ground ball tied the game, and an error by the Orioles allowed Kiah Hubble to come around and score the winning run.

Both teams were scoreless through the opening two innings, with Pendleton Heights starting pitcher Shelby Messer striking out three of the six batters she retired.

An RBI single by Avon’s Lilly Heath broke the tie in the third inning, but an RBI single by Pendleton Heights’ Avry Miller tied things back up in the bottom half of the inning.

After a scoreless fourth inning, both teams crossed the plate in the fifth.

After Avon took the lead 2-1, the Arabians answered with two runs to grab their first lead of the day.

A Lylah Farrell two-run double sparked a three-run inning for the Orioles in the sixth, but a two-out two-RBI single by Alana Smith brought Pendleton Heights back to even – 5-5 – entering the seventh before the eventual walk-off win.

Messer pitched six innings, allowed 10 hits, six runs, and struck out five. Morgan Humble earned the win in relief with one scoreless inning.

In the semifinals, the Arabians made quick work of Chesterton, winning 11-0 in five innings.

A two-run Katelin Goodwin home run in the third pushed the Pendleton Heights lead to 4-0 before a six spot in the bottom of the fourth blew things wide open.

An Alana Smith two-run home run capped off the inning. The RBI were her second and third of the game and gave her six total runs batted in on the day.

In the circle, Rector threw five scoreless innings to pick up the win. She allowed just three hits and struck out seven.

In the championship game, the Arabians battled but were shut down by Lake Central starting pitcher Sofia Calderaro.

Calderaro held a Pendleton Heights lineup that had scored 18 runs on the day to just one run and four hits, while striking out seven.

The lone Arabians run came in the sixth inning on Goodwin’s second home run of the day.

Messer, who got the start in Game 1, started the championship game as well and kept Pendleton Heights in things for five innings.

Through five, the Indians managed just two runs. A solo home run by Izzy Calinski in the second and a run in the fifth was all Messer allowed until the sixth inning.

In the sixth, Lake Central increased the lead with four runs, highlighted by a Makayla VanVossen two-run home run, to win the Horseshoe Classic.

Last year, the Arabians defeated Lake Central in the semifinals before defeating Center Grove in the championship.