SOFTBALL: Logan records 8-7 win in 9 innings at Kokomo

May 2—Logansport and Kokomo played a back-and-forth thriller at Kokomo's newly renovated softball stadium Wednesday.

Natalee Packard hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning and the Berries held on for an 8-7 victory in extra innings.

The win moved the Berries to 15-3 and 2-2 in the NCC ahead of Thursday's meeting with defending Class 1A state runner-up Caston. Kokomo dropped to 8-7 and 2-1.

Every time Logansport took a lead Wednesday Kokomo responded until the fateful ninth. Logan had leads of 2-0 and 4-2 before Kokomo came back to tie the game both times. Logan plated three runs in the top of the sixth before Kokomo answered with three in the bottom of the frame.

"We battled back several times. I felt like we could have put more runs up on the board but Kokomo is a pretty good team and they shut us down a few times when I thought we could have put more runs up on the board," Logansport coach Cory Cripe said. "But our kids battled. It's so much fun right now. These last four games we've got 13 kids all pulling in the same direction. They're all rooting for each other, pulling for each other, hustling around, when somebody makes a mistake they pick them up. These last four games the climate in the dugout has been outstanding. They're really a fun group of kids to be around right now."

Packard drew the start on the mound and allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. Brooklynn Hagerty closed it out, allowing three runs on eight hits with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

"Kokomo swings the bat. Those kids can hit," Cripe said. "Natalee came in and she grinded out a couple innings. It just felt like with where the strike zone was being called it set up better for Brooklynn today. She throws a really good dropball and keeps the ball down in the zone and I felt like that umpire behind the plate, he did a fine job, he just has a low strike zone and that set up better for Brooklynn."

Logan jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Aracyn Good led off with an infield single that was followed by an RBI triple to left center by Kellyn Cripe. Bella Nicoles smashed an RBI triple to left for the 2-0 lead.

The Berries added a run in the second when Adrienne Scott doubled to center. Good followed with an RBI single.

Logan added a run in the third when Nicoles blasted a double to left followed by an RBI single by Packard to make it 4-2.

After Kokomo tied the game in the fourth, the Berries retook the lead in the sixth. Scott singled with one out and was moved over on a sac bunt by Rylinn Spradling. With two outs, pinch hitter Evie Kitchel lined an RBI single to right. Good drew a walk to put two runners on. Cripe lined a single to right center to score pinch runner Wolf. Good added an insurance run on a double steal that proved to be big after the Wildkats came back with three runs to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.

Cripe drew a leadoff walk to start the ninth inning rally. She advanced to third on a successful sac bunt by Nicoles. Packard followed with a sac fly to center to score the eventual game-winning run.

"We got contributions from everybody tonight," coach Cripe said. "We had great base running, we had a couple steals, Teagan Wolf came in there and had a steal for us. Kellyn had some good base running, took a first to third on a great bunt, a sac bunt by Bella Nicoles. Natalee Packard battled and battled and battled that last at-bat to get us a sac fly to take the lead. Just kids griding it out and buying in to what we're doing. It's really fun here the last four games."

Hagerty closed the door in the bottom of the ninth, getting a strikeout, a ground out to short and another strikeout to end the game.

Scott and Nicoles both went 3-for-4 with a triple and double in the contest. Cripe and Good both went 2-for-4. Hagerty added a double.

It was the Berries' final NCC softball game. Harrison currently leads the standings at 3-0 with a game left with Kokomo. There is no NCC Tournament this year as the East and West division leaders will be co-champions.

Logan and Kokomo will meet again on the same field May 20 at the Class 4A Kokomo Sectional before Logan will join Class 3A starting next season. Kokomo's newly renovated softball stadium is a multi-million-dollar project that was recently completed. It has new field turf and the addition of two batting tunnels, or cages, along the first base side of the stadium. It also has a new press box, concession stand and ticket booth. The exterior of the stadium is heavy on brickwork. Revamped dugouts and spectator seating make the high school stadium more akin to what one might find on a college campus. The stadium can seat about 1,000 people. There is space beyond the outfield fence for temporary bleachers, if need be. A new LED video scoreboard can display headshots of players, upping the production value of a tournament game or a regular-season game.