Lapel repeats as sectional champs, Arabians fall in semis


South Madison County schools Lapel and Pendleton Heights entered each of their respective IHSAA Sectionals with high hopes.

Both teams entered the postseason ranked in the state, with the Bulldogs ranked No. 6 in Class 2A and the Arabians ranked No. 15 in Class 4A. Both were looking to defend their sectional titles from a season ago.

Lapel did just that, winning 2A Sectional 40, while Pendleton Heights ran into No. 4 ranked New Palestine, and fell in the semifinals.


For the hosts to win their sectional, they came out on top in back-to-back hard-fought games.

The Bulldogs opened with school district rival, No. 10 ranked Frankton for the third matchup between the two teams this season.

Earlier in the year, the Bulldogs lost 8-7, but in their next game, defeated the Eagles 3-0 in the opening round of the Madison County Tournament.

In the rubber match last Tuesday, Lapel escaped with another close win 2-1.

A Gracie Smith bunt single to score Avalee Stanley in the fourth inning put Frankton ahead 1-0, but the Bulldogs answered back with a pair of runs in the fifth.

Junior Laylah Gore singled in the tying run, and freshman Addison Bodenhorn hit a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run.

It was all the runs the Lapel pitching staff needed. Three pitchers combined to allow just five hits and one run.

Karlie Jannings threw three innings, allowed four hits and one run, Krystin Davis walked two over two innings, allowed zero hits and no runs, and Ava Zdanowski threw two scoreless frames.

At the plate, Paige Stires had a three-hit day and scored one run and Tatum Harper had a pair of hits and scored the Bulldogs other run.

In the championship, the Bulldogs pitching was just as good in a 4-2 win over Alexandria-Monroe.

The Bulldogs used three pitchers again to secure the win.

Bodenhorn pitched 3 ⅓ innings, allowed two hits and no runs, Zdanowski threw 1 ⅔ scoreless innings, and Jannings allowed two runs over two innings of work.

The teams traded runs in the first and third innings, but it was Lapel once again scoring two late runs to secure the title.

Bodenhorn, along with the scoreless innings in the circle, came up big with at plate.

In the fifth, the freshman notched a two-out two-run single to put the Bulldogs ahead for good 4-2.

In the first Harper got the scoring started with an RBI single, but in the bottom of the inning, Alexandria-Monroe’s Stella Griffin answered with an RBI single.

After the Bulldogs scored on a wild pitch in the third, Griffin tied the game again, this time with a RBI double.

Stires went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored, Bodenhorn had two hits and drove in two, and Ava Everman scored a run along with Davis and Avery Scruggs.

The Bulldogs played Madison-Grant in the regional championship on Tuesday after press time.

Pendleton Heights

After an opening-round win over Anderson, the Arabians season came to an end against No. 4 New Palestine in the semifinals.

To set up the matchup between the two state-ranked teams, Pendleton Heights used a six-run second inning to cruise to a 10-4 victory over the Indians.

Both teams scored three runs in the first, before the Arabians offensive outburst in the second. The Indians added a run in the fifth, and Pendleton Heights capped off the scoring with a run in the sixth.

In the semifinal matchup with New Palestine, it was the Arabians on the wrong end of a strong offensive display.

New Palestine scored six runs after two outs, relied on its defense to help pitcher Courtney Study get out of early trouble, and never let the talented Arabians — the defending sectional champions — have a chance to get back in the game.

In the first inning, Jersi Gross led off with the double and Paige Ernstes reached on an error, Sydney Oliver — who was in the middle of many of the big plays Wednesday night — gave the Dragons a 1-0 lead with a single to center field.

With two out, Maddie Engle drove in Ernstes, Oliver and herself with a long home run over the left field fence.

Leading 4-0, the Dragons had to get out of a jam in the first.

Study walked two and hit a batter to load the bases with no outs. It all started with leadoff hitter Kiah Hubble forcing 13 pitches before earning the base on balls.

Pendleton Heights cleanup hitter Kelsey Day lined a ball to Oliver in right field. She made the catch and threw a bullet to catcher Reese Rosenbaum. It held all the runners except for courtesy runner Erin Davis at second base. Davis took off to third. Rosenbaum threw to shortstop Allie Blum, who put on the tag for the second out. Skylar Baldwin grounded to second base to end the inning.

The Dragons stretched the lead to 6-0 in the third. With one out, Ernstes reached on an infield single. Oliver reached when her fly ball was dropped in center field. With second and third and one out, Katie Hirschy drove in two with a single.

In the fourth, Gross reached on a single. Again, with two outs, the Dragons had three straight hits. Ernstes singled and Oliver hit a triple to right field. Sprinting around the bases, it appeared Oliver might try for an inside-the-park home run. She got the stop sign from Marcum at third and later came in on Hirschy’s RBI single.

The rest of the big plays came on the defensive side.

With a runner on first base in the fourth, center fielder Engle made a nice catch to end the inning. After a leadoff single in the fifth, Hirschy, at first base, caught a line drive and tagged her base for a double play. Pendleton Heights’ leading hitter, Katelin Goodwin followed by hitting a ball in the right-center field gap, but Oliver ran it down and made the catch to end the inning.

Engle dove to grab a liner for an out to start the sixth, putting an exclamation on the Dragons’ defensive performance.

All of this was to the liking of Study, who gave up only four hits, all singles. She struck out four.

In the circle for Pendleton Heights, senior Shelby Messer threw all seven innings and allowed 13 hits while only four of the nine runs scored were earned.

She capped off a strong senior season in which she went 8-8 with a 3.72 earned run average over 118.2 innings.

At the plate, the Arabians’ four hits came from Goodwin, Avry Miller, Grace Fisher and Cassie Hayes.

A year ago, Pendleton Heights won the sectional at New Palestine, beating the Dragons in the championship game.

New Palestine went on to defeat Greenfield-Central in the championship game 10-4.

No posts to display