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Peru softball drops pair at Argyll Invitational

THE GRIND: Peru pitcher Betheny Caldwell did what she could to keep the Tigers in contention during both games of the Argyll Invitational Saturday but the bats were not around to help as the team fell to Connersville 11-2 and to Madison-Grant 10-0.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

FAIRMOUNT--Fresh of winning the 2018 Central Indiana Conference softball championship, Madison-Grant hosted its annual Argyll Invitational on Saturday.

M-G took the field for the second semifinal game against North Central (Indianapolis) and it took awhile for the Argylls bats to wake up. In fact, Panthers starter Molly Power kept Madison-Grant hitters off balance through all seven innings as North Central squeaked out a 4-3 win.

Connersville scored all 11 of its runs in the first inning and cruised to an 11-2 win over Peru in the opening game of the day. Connersville defeated North Central, 11-1 to win the championship.

The Argylls bats came alive in the consolation game against Peru, pounding out 18 hits and earning a 10-0, six-inning win over the Tigers.

One constant for M-G all day was senior Maggie Havens.

Havens, who pitched less than 30 innings all season entering Saturday, turned into the M-G’s workhorse in the circle, pitching all seven innings against North Central allowing just four hits and one earned run while striking out 17 Panther hitters and walking none.

Havens also had a big day at the plate, going 6-for-7 with three doubles, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored.

Peru’s Betheny Caldwell started well against M-G in the consolation game, limiting the Argylls’ to just a Havens single in the bottom of the first. But Madison-Grant put together four more singles in the second, Katie Meisner and Zoey Barnett each drove in runs to stake the Argylls to a 2-0 lead.

Havens led off Madison-Grant’s third inning with a double, the first of four straight hits and five in the inning for M-G. Ellie Alcala and Katelyn Shouse each drove in one run and Burnett added two more RBIs with a single as the Argylls moved on top, 6-0.

Alcala’s three-run homer in the fourth was the big highlight of Madison-Grant’s second, five-hit inning in a row making it 9-0. She led off the sixth inning with a single and advanced to second on Peru’s only error of the game and was immediately driven home by a Shouse double to end it after just two batters.

Peru had just three runners reach scoring position against Madison-Grant and left two runners on base in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Courtlynn Crowe was 2-for-3 with a double, while Mandy Birchfield was 2-for-2. Caldwell and Sydney Douglass had the Tigers other two hits.

Despite the lopsided looking losses, Tiger coach Katie Wyant was encouraged by some of what she saw out of the Tigers. 

“I’m looking around at our second game and our entire infield, with the exception of our pitcher, is a rookie,” Wyant said. “These girls have it. They’ve just got to constantly believe it.

The first game we let (Connersville) score 11 runs in the first inning and we lose 11-2. We settle down, we get into our groove and we’re good,” she added. “Just figuring out how to eliminate some of those nerves that show up and those opportunities we miss just momentarily and try to get the growth from those from a day like today.”

Wyant’s main message to her Tigers was just the need for believing in themselves and their teammates. She hopes the experience of Saturday’s tournament will help Peru in the sectional and the future. 

“I hope seeing some teams that are just a little bit more polished than us, and challenging ourselves with that, trying to step up and make plays (helps),” Wyant said. “There were moments that we definitely shined and then there were moments we were a step short or made a wrong move and they took advantage of it. We’ve got to learn from that and take advantage of it when we have those opportunities too.”