SOFTBALL: No. 8 WC clips No. 4 Caston following big weekend for Comets

Apr. 23—FULTON — After going up against much larger schools over the weekend, the Caston softball team hosted West Central for a Class 1A top 10 matchup on senior night Monday.

The No. 8-ranked Trojans got the better of the No. 4 Comets in a 6-4 win in a matchup of possible sectional opponents.

"It's good to play good teams like that. West Central's a great team as well," Caston senior pitcher Addison Zimpleman said. "We'll most likely face them again. There's things we need to work on defensively and offensively, putting the ball in play, catching some of those balls. They weren't like overly powerful tonight, they just hit some little duck farts or just finding those gaps that hurt us in the end. But we have time before sectionals to get better."

Zimpleman pitched the Comets to a win over Westfield on Friday at the Kokomo Tournament. But she took a line drive that was a direct shot to her right leg just above her knee in that game. She finished the game on the mound and came back the next night against Kokomo and helped pitch the Comets to a win in that game as well.

"I'm definitely not back to 100%. I'm still a little sore," she said. "But I'm hoping this week get some more rest and just keep going from there, doing my stretches, doing therapy and all that."

Zimpleman allowed six runs (five earned) on 10 hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts in a complete-game effort Monday.

"Addison was just a little bit off today," Caston coach Jon Burks said. "She just wasn't hitting her spots right off the game. They got a couple shots, we had a couple fly balls that should have been caught. I think that all in all she just really wasn't on her game and we didn't hit well. I think that big weekend there has kind of played in a little bit on us. I don't think we got properly loosed up today because of all this chaos going on. We'll take it for what it's worth and we'll move on. We'll see what we've got the rest of the week. We'll take the loss and learn from it."

Burks said he originally wasn't going to pitch Zimpleman to not let the Trojans get a look at her before a possible sectional game next month. But since it was senior night he wanted to let her pitch if she wanted.

"I was actually going to throw Natalie [Warner] but Addison said she wanted to but she just wasn't on her game," he said.

The Trojans (8-2) also went with their ace, senior Jaden Erb, who allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks, striking out four.

The Trojans struck for four runs in the top of the first and led the rest of the way. Following a leadoff walk, Erb, Annika Smith, Kailee Bishop and Sydney Mellon all had hits during the inning.

Zimpleman led off the game for the Comets (8-3) with a home run to make it a 4-1 game.

The Trojans got that run back in the third with the help of an error and a two-out RBI single by Brooklynn Lattimore.

The Comets scored two runs in the bottom of the third. Kylee Logan blasted a solo home run to center. Isabel Scales singled and Annie Harsh drew a walk to put two runners on. Scales stole third and the throw got past the third baseman allowing her to score to make it a 5-3 game.

The Trojans added another run in the sixth which included a walk and back-to-back bloop singles by Smith and Bishop to make it a three-run game.

Zimpleman led off the seventh with a prodigious blast, her second of the game and fifth of the season, to make it a 6-4 game.

Logan followed with a single to bring the tying run to the plate. Scales drew a 3-0 count and fouled a pitch straight back. She got under a 3-1 offering and flied out to center. Erb then induced a popout and fly out to end the game.

"I thought we had a real good chance with the top of the order coming up there in the seventh. But it just didn't go our way," said Burks, adding that Scales had a couple good cuts.

"Especially the one she fouled off. That one probably would have went a long way. But the next one she was just a little bit out in front of it and lifted it instead of staying back and getting a good drive on it."

Zimpleman, Logan and Scales finished with two hits apiece in the contest. Harsh added a double.

Smith went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for West Central. Erb, Bishop and Mellon had two hits apiece.

The loss snapped an 11-game home winning streak for the Comets, whose last loss at home came against Oak Hill in 2022. It was the current West Central players' first win over Caston in softball. The Comets won last year's sectional meeting 10-4 in a game that ended just before the sun fully set about five minutes before it would have been suspended due to North Miami not having lights. North Miami is again hosting the sectional this year. The IHSAA is holding its Pairings Show on Sunday night.

Caston, with an enrollment of 241 students, had wins over Westfield (2,789) and Kokomo (1,465) and a loss to a South Bend St. Joseph (849) team that is competing in Class 4A due to the success factor over the weekend at the Kokomo Tournament.

"It is really neat," Zimpleman said. "Even playing South Bend St. Joe, the Zache sisters are playing at Oklahoma, that's just a great thing to go up against. We might have gotten beat pretty bad, but we held our own in the end, we never gave up, we just had a good mentality the whole tournament."

"We had a great weekend in Kokomo," Burks said. "That was awesome. Addison that night Friday night she was on it. Even though she did take a blow. She did buck up and finish the game. The next day we threw Natalie which is our freshman against St. Joe. Nothing against our freshman, because I just wanted to see how her composure would be, it was pretty much batting practice for St. Joe and they definitely took advantage of it. But Kokomo we threw Natalie there the freshman on that one too, her and Macee [Hinderlider], and Macee don't ever throw. She came in a little bit and helped. Natalie like I say, I'm getting more and more confident with her about her pitching. All we have to do is save Addison. If Addison's on her game, we're going to be hard to beat.

"But we're still getting through. I've been working with different lineups and just trying to feel our way through it until we get to the tournament."