It’s raining runs

April 5, 2019

NEW CARLISLE — The only thing that went relatively wrong for New Prairie in its 14-1 rout of Michigan City came in the opening at-bat of the game.

Wolves leadoff hitter Katelyn Halfacre smacked a triple to deep center that Kylie Briner got a glove on, but crashed into the fence.

“I do it all the time, so it was nothing. I was alright,” Briner said with a laugh after the win.

A couple innings later when Halfacre came to the plate again, Cougars catcher Allison Pavlick (2-for-4, two RBIs) yelled out to Briner in center field, “Your way last time, Kylie!”

Briner replied for all to hear, “I know! Don’t remind me!”

Other than Briner avoiding injury in the opening at-bat, it was a banner day for the Cougars offense on a cold and rainy afternoon, racing out to a 7-0 lead after a bases-clearning triple from freshman Carli Tharp, who led the inning off getting hit by a pitch from Wolves starter Hannah Chambers.

“We’re definitely a lot better team than we were last year,” Tharp said after her big performance. “That’s what a lot of the older girls have been saying. I think we’re just starting to come together and play well together. It took us a couple games, but we’re gonna be ready for (conference rival South Bend) St. Joe on Monday.”

Briner got in on the fun with Maddie McSurley (1-for-3, RBI) in the second inning, both driving in runs off a pair of City errors to make it 9-0.

The Wolves were able to find the scoreboard for their lone run of the contest in the third off an RBI single from Aviana Garner that scored Halfacre, who reached on an infield single.

“It definitely helps us,” Wolves coach Sara Krachinski said on playing talented teams early in the year like New Prairie. “Today was a bit disappointing because of a few mental errors we made, on top of too many girls looking at third strikes. Our approach got better as the game went along, but there’s plenty of things we still have to work on moving forward.”

Tharp doubled again to drive in another run and Trojanowski laced an RBI single into the right-center field gap to tack on a couple more runs in the bottom half of the third to extend the lead back out.

With the Cougars offense humming on all cylinders, senior right-hander Lauren Wilcoxson silenced the Wolves bats through her four innings of work, giving up just the one run on three hits with six strikeouts. Karissa Gilpin pitched a scoreless fifth to cap the victory.

“I always look for the little things that we can improve on,” Cougars coach Derek Hicks said. “Those are the things that we’ll work on in practice this week to get ready for Griffith on Saturday. St. Joe’s the big one for us on Monday of course. It’s the first conference game of the year. They’re doing well so far. They all get along with each other and they know the coaching staff better this year, so that’s definitely an advantage for us this year and we’re hoping to continue to build on that.”

Reach Michael Whitlow at mwhitlow@thenewsdispatch.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.

New Prairie 14, Michigan City 1

Cougars leadoff hitter Carli Tharp was 3-for-3 with four RBIs.