Lapel fights back to win first softball semistate title


WARSAW — They had to wait longer than expected, but the payoff was more than worth it.

After a two-day delay due to rain, Lapel returned to Warsaw Monday night to claim the first softball semi-state title in school history.

Behind the arms of freshmen pitchers Addie Bodenhorn and Ava Zdanowski, the Bulldogs fought back from an early three-run deficit to defeat Hebron 6-4 and claim their spot in the IHSAA Class 2A State Championship game.

The Bulldogs will face No. 1 Cascade (29-2) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Purdue University’s Bittinger Stadium in West Lafayette.

Lapel struck first in the bottom of the opening inning on a Laylah Gore RBI single, but it was the Hawks scoring the next four runs.

In the second, Madelyn Heck singled and later scored on a passed ball to tie the game, and in the third, Macey Siminski hit a three-run home run to put Hebron ahead 4-1.

It was the largest deficit the Bulldogs had faced during the postseason, and the first time since trailing by a run in the sectional opener to Frankton.

In the regional championship and the semi-state semifinal on Saturday, Lapel led the entire way.

Close games are nothing new to the Bulldogs, though, and a spot they’ve thrived in all season. They entered the night 9-4 in games decided by three or few runs. With the win, they made it 10-4.

Down 4-1, the Bulldogs stormed back to tie things up in the top fourth.

Gore singled to lead things off, and Bodenhorn doubled off the center field fence to score pinch runner Avery Scruggs to trim the deficit to 4-2. Two batters later, Karlie Jannings singled in Bodenhorn to cut the deficit to one.

After advancing to second on the throw home, and moving to third base on a passed ball, Jannings scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

An inning later, the Bulldogs took the lead for good.

Krystin Davis led off the inning with a bunt single and Tatum Harper walked before a Paige Stires sacrifice moved the two into scoring position. Davis scored the go-ahead and eventual winning run on a ground ball off the bat of Gore, and Harper added an insurance run, scoring on a Hebron error.

With the lead intact, the Bulldogs freshman pitchers shut down the Hebron offense.

Bodenhorn entered in relief of starting pitcher Karlie Jannings in the fourth inning and stalled the Hawks offense.

In the fourth and fifth she sent them down in order, and in the sixth, she allowed one hit and issued a walk but ended the frame with a strikeout to leave the runners stranded.

Over the three innings of relief, Bodenhorn allowed just one hit and one walk and struck out three.

In the seventh, she turned things over to her classmate, Zdanowski.

She slammed the door shut by forcing a ground out to shortstop to start things off, striking out the second batter of the inning on three pitches and getting a ground out to first base to clinch the win.

Jannings, who got the start for Lapel, allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits over three innings of work. She walked one and struck out three.

At the plate, Gore was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, Jannings was 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored, Davis picked up two hits and scored a run and Bodenhorn had an RBI double.

To get to the championship game, the Bulldogs defeated South Adams on Saturday 5-2.

They jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back.

In the win, Jannings pitched five innings, allowed two runs on four hits while striking out five. Zdanowksi pitched two hitless and scoreless innings.

Harper was responsible for the Bulldogs first four runs. In the first inning she crushed a two-run home run and in the second added a two-run single.

Stires picked up the Bulldogs’ other RBI in the fourth inning.

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