North Vermillion advanced to the 1A Sectional 53 softball championship game by defeating Lafayette Central Catholic 14-1 in six innings and then taking down a tough Faith Christian pitcher in a 2-1 win to set up a now twice-postponed match with Riverton Parke for the title.
The Falcons used two singles, two errors and a double by pitcher Addi Burns to lead 3-0 after a half inning against the Knights.
They added another run in the third on a triple by Cami Pearman and a sacrifice fly by Burns and then four more in the fourth.
In that frame, four singles, a fielder’s choice and a double by Burns made it 8-0 and the Falcons would add another in their half of the fifth on a pair of singles and a double by Callie Naylor for a 9-0 lead before the Knights finally scored a run.
It came in the bottom of the fifth on a Falcon error, a single and a ground out that scored the first batter to make it 9-1.
In the top of the sixth, North Vermillion ended the game on the ten-run rule, scoring five more runs to make it a 14-1 final.
In that inning, four singles, two errors and a double by Alexis Brink put the Falcons into their next game against Faith Christian.
Ardie Kilgore, the North Vermillion head coach, said that this was the team he had been expecting all season, but one that sometimes had not shown up.
“We’ve played this way a couple of times this year,” he said, “but we haven’t been consistent. This is what we should have been doing all season, but we seemed to develop more slowly than some of our teams in the past.”
Getting a win against Faith Christian was a tougher task for the Falcons as they ran up against one of the better pitchers in the area, a strikeout artist named Emma Payton, who had 13 Ks in six innings.
It became a pitching duel between Peyton and Burns of the Falcons, one that saw no one reach base in the first two innings and only two Eagles reach in the next two, one on a walk and one on a slap bunt.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the top of the order returned to bat for North Vermillion and the first three hitter combined to score two runs on a walk to Brink, a single by Naylor that broke up the Payton no-hitter and a two-run double to the centerfield fence by Ava Martin that drove in Brink and Naylor to make it 2-0.
Faith Christian got runners on first and second twice in the top of the fifth, but could score no runs as Burns retired the last two batters in the inning.
North Vermillion went down in order in their half, but, in the top of the sixth, the Eagles reached the scoreboard on a triple and an error that made it 2-1 with the second runner trying to take too much advantage of the mistake and running into a tag at third.
The Eagles followed up with an infield single and one to right field that moved runner to third, but she died there as the next batter was the third out.
Martin singled in the bottom of the sixth, her second hit of the game and the third for the Falcons, but she ended up stuck there when Peyton picked up her thirteenth strikeout.
Faith Christian threatened in the top of the seventh, getting two straight singles to right, but a fielder’s choice and a ground ball hit to Burns ended the contest with North Vermillion still up 2-1.
The championship game against host Riverton Parke was scheduled for Thursday, but it was moved to Friday because rain and then to Monday, Memorial Day, due to the Panther’s infield not being playable due to the late-clearing rain.