With the 2012 sectional tournament rapidly approaching — the first games are slated for Monday night — local softball teams were getting last tuneup games in as this week drew to a close.
Concord and South Bend St. Joseph played just such a game Friday night at Concord, and it was the Indians prevailing, 4-2 on a warm, summerlike evening in Dunlap.
With the victory, South Bend St. Joseph finished the regular season at 13-11. Concord dropped to 17-10.
South Bend St. Joseph coach Eric Gohlke said his team put together some clutch hitting — especially with two outs — and that was the difference.
That kind of clutch hitting hasn’t always been a part of the Indians’ game all season, Gohlke said.
“It’s amazing what happens when you start hitting in those clutch situations,” Gohlke said. “You start winning ballgames.”
The Indians cracked the scoreboard in the top of the second with a single run and added two more in the top of the third to get out to an early 3-0 advantage.
Concord was able to take advantage of some St. Joseph errors in the homehalf of the third to get its two runs. Amanda Schoeffler reached on an error, and Paige Freeze followed suit, also reaching on an error to put runners at first and second. Kennadie Lopez sacrificed the runners to second and third, and Jenny Miller plated Schoeffler with a sacrifice fly to right. Sammy Swain singled home Freeze.
Concord added an insurance run in the top of the fifth. The Minutemen threatened in the bottom of the fifth — getting their own clutch two-out hitting. Lopez singled, and Jenna Miller got on base with an infield single that allowed Lopez to scoot over to third.
But a come-backer to the pitcher allowed the Indians to escape the inning unscathed.
Indian senior pitcher Delia Falcon went the distance in the circle for the victory.
Falcon said she enjoys pitching in those kinds of pressure situations.
“You just have to stay calm and let your teammates support you,” Falcon said.
Concord coach Robb Freeze said he feels his team is ready for sectionals despite the nonconference loss to the Indians.
The Minutemen will have to be: They drew Class 4A No. 4 Northridge in the first round of next week’s Elkhart Memorial Sectional. The two teams will face off at 7;30 Monday night in the second game of a doubleheader that will feature Warsaw and Memorial in the opening game.
“We played good defense tonight,” Freeze said. “If we can do that against Northridge, we will be all right. We put the ball in play against them the last time we played.”
South Bend St. Joseph 4, Concord 2
SB St. Joe 012 010 0 — 4-7-2
Concord 002 000 0 — 2-5-1
Pitching: (SB St. Joe) Delia Falcon (W). Concord) R. Miller (L), J. Miller.
Hitting: (SB St. Joe) Gillis double; Linzy three RBIs.
Records: SB St. Joe (13-11) faces Mishawaka Marian in the Class 3A sectional Monday at Fairfield. Concord (17-10) faces Northridge in the Class 4A sectional Monday at Elkhart Memorial.