PCC pitchers’ duel
UNION MILLS — Holly Noveroske vividly recalls what Morgan Township did to South Central’s softball team in their two games last season. The Cherokees routed their Porter County Conference foe both times.
The Satellites’ ace wasn’t about to settle for that this campaign.
On Friday, Noveroske earned a complete-game, two-hit shutout, lifting undefeated South Central to a 1-0 home win over Morgan Township in a critical PCC opener. She prevailed over the Cherokees’ Esa Hill, who was the hard-luck loser and recorded 10 strikeouts.
“It’s so amazing because last year it wasn’t even close,” Noveroske said. “So I was really looking forward to this year. It means a lot.”
Noveroske tallied the victory in going the distance for the Satellites (6-0, 1-0 PCC), who scored the game’s lone run in the first inning. The sophomore right-hander gave up no runs on only a pair of hits in seven innings. Noveroske (5-0) finished with five strikeouts and one walk. Fittingly, the game ended with a comebacker to Noveroske with the tying run on first base.
“She kept the balls to a minimum,” S.C. coach Tony Wallace said. “She got ahead of them in the count on a lot of the batters and she didn’t have to fight from behind. That’s the key with Holly. As long as she doesn’t have to fight from behind, she does a great job up there.”
Morgan Township (5-2, 0-1 PCC) got just one base runner to third base, and another to second, but that was technically on the last out of the game.
Otherwise, Noveroske was stellar in the circle.
“I was just throwing strikes and being able to make them hit it in play, so the players behind me could make the plays,” Noveroske said. “I wasn’t expecting us to come out that well and that strong on defense, but we really did.”
In addition to her pitching prowess, Noveroske went 2-for-3 offensively with half of South Central’s four hits.
S.C.’s defense was also reliable, committing a mere one error.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Wallace said. “It was a defensive gem. It was a pitching duel. This was an amazing way to open the PCC. It keeps us right in the hunt. When you’ve got teams like Boone Grove and Morgan Township in the PCC, one loss can be detrimental to winning the conference crown.”
The Satellites pushed across a run in the opening inning to make it 1-0.
Faith Biggs, who walked twice on the day, drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Later, she moved to third on a dropped third strike when the catcher’s throw went to first, and scored on a wild pitch.
“It’s very important,” Noveroske said of manufacturing a run. “It really brings momentum to the team when we get a lead, and then, we can just keep it going.”
In the fourth, S.C. could have added to its lead. But Skyler Wildfong, who was on second, was called for base runner’s interference and an automatic out when she made contact with Morgan’s shortstop attempting to field a grounder. The bases were loaded at the time with one out. To begin the rally, Noveroske singled and Wildfong had a bunt hit.
The Cherokees’ Hill allowed one earned run on four hits and walked three in six innings.
South Central 1, Morgan Township 0
The Satellites’ Holly Noveroske claimed the complete-game shutout and went 2-for-3.