Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

April 27, 2012

PREP SOFTBALL: Rolling Raiders

Northridge 13-0 with dominant win over Tigers

MIDDLEBURY — A couple of early mental lapses were not enough to slow down the Northridge High School girls softball team as the Raiders cruised to 12-2 NLC win over the visiting Warsaw Tigers Thursday night.

The No. 6-ranked Class 4A Raiders gave up a run in the first inning before batting around in the second and scoring four runs on the way to the team’s 13th victory against no losses.

Sophomore Haley Nixon was the winning pitcher. She struck out five and walked none to improve her record to 12-0.

“Haley regained her composure in the circle,” Northridge coach Bo O’Dell said. “The defense made some plays behind her. We turned a double play and it’s big when you can do that in high school girls softball. (Sophomore) Jaymee Bowers made a couple of nice catches in right field on a night when the wind was blowing the ball all over.

“We are getting good senior leadership. The seniors are the ones leading the communication on the field. We keep telling the girls that if they talk out on the field then they don’t have to listen to the coaches talk.”

The talented Raiders don’t think about run-ruling an opponent.

“We never try to think about that. We don’t what to take any team lightly,” Northridge senior first baseman Caity Pixley said. “We know we have the physical traits to play well. We have to make sure the mental side matches up with the physical.”

Warsaw entered the contest with a 4-0 record in the NLC.

“We didn’t make enough defensive plays to beat a team like Northridge,” Warsaw coach Jim Speicher said. “Northridge has strong pitching and strong hitting. The Raiders got some timely hits when they took the lead.

“Nixon changes speed. We have hit here decent the four times we have faced her. She is the best pitcher in the NLC on the best team in the NLC. It’s going to take quite an effort for some team to get them in the league.”

The Raiders scored three runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and ended the game with two in the bottom of the sixth.

“Warsaw came into the game with a seven-game winning streak,” O’Dell said. “We made a couple of mental errors early in the game that allowed them to score. We don’t mind giving up runs if we feel the opposing team earns them.”

Nixon drove in the final run on a hard single with the bases loaded that was knocked down by the third baseman.

The Raiders pounded out 17 hits in the contest.

“As a team we work on hitting and a lot of the girls do extra work on their own,” Pixley said.

“We hit with the JV girls and watch them because you never know when you are going to learn something.”

Pixley was among the Northridge hitting leaders with three singles and three RBI.

Another leader was sophomore Brianne O’Dell, the daughter of the Northridge coach. She had three singles and two RBI. She reached base in all five trips to the plate and scored three runs.

“One of the great things about this team is that when the coach talks to a player we all listen,” the younger O’Dell said.

“We know that what the coach is saying could help us some day.”

Northridge had three extra-base hits as junior Madison Schrock stroked two doubles and classmate Kelcie Caples one.

Warsaw senior Kelsey Dotson had a run-scoring double and classmate Kendra Marshall a double and single.

“A Jim Speicher-coached team is always going to hit the ball and Dotson is as scary any hitter in the NLC,” coach O’Dell said.

According to Speicher the Indiana University-bound Dotson has 28 career home runs and her next one will tie her for third place on the state’s all time list.

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