6-Run 5th Inning lifts Jasper over Evansville Central

By: Corbin Lingenfelter

Jasper- After two rainouts, the Jasper Wildcats opened the 2023 IHSAA Softball season Tuesday night. 

A game that ended on a 10-run-rule in the 6th saw Jasper best Sectional 16 foe Evansville Central 17-7.

The Cats started with Elise Lampert in the circle who sent down the first batter, Ava Reed, on three pitches. Following Lampert’s 1-2-3 first pitch appearance, the Bears would net the next two runners, Danika Dix and Haileey Vallee, on base due to errors committed in the field. However, Lampert would prevent damage from being down further, sending Kendall Krack and Aubrie Durham down on strikes, thus ending the top of the first. 

The bottom half of the first saw Sophomore Ella Erny lead off for Jasper against Senior Ace Kylin Schoenhals. Erny, who batted at .500 last season in 19 appearances, smacked a single through the infield, giving Jasper their first hit of the night. Following Erny was Grace Kaeck who also netted a single, moving Erny up to second. Senior Hillary Springer would strike out being the first out for Jasper in the inning, but Carlee Rogers earned an RBI double, bringing both Erny and Kaeck home. Rogers too would be brought home following a sacrifice RBI by Kaylee Stinnett. With two out Olivia Young notched a single, but the inning would end with a fly out to right field by Elise Lampert. After the 1st inning, Jasper led 3-0.

The second inning is where the bats got hot for the Bears. Lampert gave up a hit to Emma Snyder, the lead off hitter for Central before getting a third to first force on Schoenhals. Kaylee Magro would bring Snyder home and Reed in her second at bat would do the same. Dix earned an RBI single in the second as Reed came home, being the last run scored by the Bears. The game was tied at 3-3.

The bottom half of the second inning showed early struggles at the plate for Jasper. Maddie Heim would go down on strikes and Brooke Kleiser would suffer a pop up caught by the catcher Dix. Erny came to bat and smacked a ball deep into right center, earning herself a triple as the speedy Center Fielder sprinted around the first two bases and slid into third. Kaeck would bring her home with a double, being the only run scored for the remainder of the inning for Jasper. After two, Cats 4, Bears 3.

The next four batters Lampert faced would go down on strikes as she had a 1-2-3 3rd inning and struck out the first batter of the 4th. Jasper would add two more, with courtesy runners Reagan Weisheit (running for Young) and Keira Giesler (running for Lampert) would come home. Jasper led 6-3 after the third inning. 

The Wildcats were not content with their lead in the 5th however. After giving up two runs, Jasper would answer with a 6 run 5th inning. Kleiser, Erny, Keck, Springer, Stinnett, and courtesy runner Weisheit would all come around the bases. The inning ended with the batter who led off, Kleiser, who lined out to the shortstop. Jasper led 14-5 after the fifth.

New pitcher Romey Werner would give up to runs and faced a challenge with bases loaded in the top of the 6th with only one out. Werner would battle through and prevail, netting a strike out and fly out to Rogers in right field. Evansville Central trailed 14-7 after this series. 

In the bottom half of what would be the final inning, Erny would be walked to lead off before being brought back in by Kaeck, who too would score for the Wildcats making the game 16-7 with Stinnett in scoring position and Lampert at the plate. The Jasper ace, who became the designated player following the pitching change, would hit a single splitting first and second, bringing home Stinnett. Jasper won on mercy rule 17-7 to start their 2023 campaign at 1-0.