BRADFORD – The Bradford softball team won its Cross County Conference opener on Tuesday, defeating Tri-County North 4-3.
Bradford jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom half of the second inning, taking advantage of three North errors in the frame.
Haley Rosengarten started off the inning with a leadoff single and advanced all the way to third as the ball squirted through the right fielder’s legs.
“We’re kind of one of those spark teams that we’ve got to have a little bit of a spark in order to get going in an inning,” Bradford coach Shon Schaffer said. “We had a leadoff single, and that kind of did it for us, got the dugout excited. We run bases well.”
Chelsea Gill then struck out, but North’s catcher dropped the third strike. The subsequent throw to first base sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Gill to reach safely and advance to second while Rosengarten scored to make it 1-0.
After a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Brewer advanced Gill to third, Ciara Yohey hit a sacrifice grounder to drive in the run and make it 2-0.
Hannah Fout then was hit by a pitch and stole second. Oliva Hart reached on an error, which allowed Fout to score and make it 3-0.
“I preach to the girls all the time it’s about when you have the opportunity to help the team out,” Schaffer said. “When we have runners on some girls stepped up and got some base hits. Very proud of them.”
Bradford added a fourth run in the bottom of the fifth, which proved to be very important.
Hart led off with a single and advanced to second on Tri-County North’s fourth error of the game. A sacrifice grounder by Emily Huggins moved Hart to third, and Hart scored on a sacrifice bunt by Tori Smith to make it 4-0.
That run proved to be crucial in the seventh inning. Tri-County North started out with a leadoff single and got a second runner as Bradford dropped a fly ball for its first error of the game.
After a strikeout by Smith, Taylor Green drilled a three-run homer to cut Bradford’s lead to a single run, 4-3.
“Every team we’ve played so far has came back on us,” Schaffer said. “I don’t know if it’s lack of focus or what, but we’ll work on that; it’s early yet. Young team.”
The Railroaders hung on for the win, however, with another Smith strikeout and a fly out to center.
Bradford finished the game with five hits and one error. North had six hits and four errors.
Hart led the Bradford offense with two hits. Brewer, Rosengarten and Smith also had hits for the Railroaders.
Smith struck out seven Panthers during Thursday’s game.
“Tori, she’s one of the best ones in the league, absolutely,” Schaffer said. “Senior. She’s going to keep us close every single game. Absolutely. She’s just one pitch away from a shutout.”
With the win Bradford improved to 3-0 on the season.
“The girls set out a goal to protect the field this year,” Schaffer said. “They’re wanting to win all their home games. We’re going to try to do that for the seniors.”
Bradford is scheduled to play at Twin Valley South on Thursday.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.