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Apr. 27—Terre Haute South established itself as the hottest team in Vigo County high school softball Monday, downing host West Vigo 7-0 behind Jasmine Kinzer (and Grace Kidwell).

The Braves pecked away for single runs in each of the first three innings, and the Vikings probably hit the ball harder — without being rewarded — in the first six frames. But South took any suspense out of the game by getting four runs and six hits in the top of the seventh for their fifth straight victory.

“We’re playing well, and we’re hitting the ball extremely well right now,” coach Jeff Biggs said after the game. “We’re executing when it counts . . . and shutting that [West Vigo] team out is pretty impressive.”

“That’s not like us,” said a frustrated coach Chris Nidiffer of the Vikings, who would have been county champions with a win. “We’ve been averaging 12 or 13 hits a game. I kept telling the girls, ‘Keep swinging and it’ll find a hole, but it didn’t. We found a glove.”

Proving that softball is a game in which every base is important, South took advantage of every possible advantage to score early.

In the first, a throwing error to an uncovered base set up a sacrifice fly by Peyton Simmons of the Braves, although Viking pitcher Kenzie Rice prevented further damage.

In the second, a walk and a hit batter set up an RBI single by South’s Maddy Griswold, although a throw to the plate that was cut off might have nailed the runner — and again Rice minimized the damage after that.

And in the third, a two-out single by Kinzer was fumbled in the outfield, putting runners at second and third instead of first and second, so Kyar McVey’s bunt single brought a run home.

West Vigo got a two-out hit by Alex Barnaby in the first and a pair of hits in the second without scoring, and in the bottom of the fourth Kidwell, the Braves’ center fielder, came into play.

Carlea Funk led off with a single, and Zoe Boatman — the hottest Viking, with five consecutive hits including a homer going into the at-bat — was retired when Kidwell went back near the fence for the catch. Molly Rohrbach followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position, but Avery Funk’s fly ball wasn’t deep enough to score her sister. With two out, Ashley Dunkin hit a rocket to the gap in right-center, but Kidwell ran that down too to save at least two runs.

“She’s probably one of my favorite outfielders,” Kinzer said of Kidwell after the game.

“That girl can definitely catch,” Nidiffer agreed.

Rice breezed through three innings, but the Vikings still couldn’t break through. They left two runners on in the bottom of the fifth, and Kidwell went to the fence in right-center to retire Avery Funk to end the sixth. And in the seventh, the roof caved in.

Kidwell led off with a bunt single, stole second and scored on a hit by Marlee Loudermilk. Faith Thomas got an infield hit and Lexi Cottrell was hit by a pitch to set up a two-run single by Kinzer, McVey’s third hit of the game loaded the bases again and Izzy Light smashed an infield hit for another RBI.

Loudermilk, McVey and Light, by the way, are freshmen — freshmen who combined to go 6 for 11 with an RBI each. South’s youth might be a reason for the Braves’ slow start this spring, although Biggs didn’t mention it.

“We had a pretty tough schedule early on,” the coach pointed out, “but we worked and worked and worked. We’re starting to believe, and our hard work is paying off.”

That was the reaction Kinzer had too, after allowing seven hits and striking out just one batter — the first one she faced — but she walked no one and remained composed throughout the game.

“I came in strong,” she said. “I wanted a good, competitive game, and I just went with the groove.” South’s winning streak, she added, is because of “the work we put in outside of games.”

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (AB-R-H-RBI) — Kidwell cf 5-2-2-0, Loudermilk ss 4-1-2-1, Simmons 1b 3-0-0-1, Thomas c 3-2-1-0, Cottrell 2b 3-1-0-0, J.Kinzer p 3-0-2-2, McVey lf 4-1-3-1, Light 3b 3-0-1-1, Griswold rf 4-0-1-1. Totals 32-7-12-7.

WEST VIGO (AB-R-H-RBI) — Auten lf 4-0-0-0, Rice p 4-0-0-0, Barnaby 3b 3-0-2-0, C.Funk 1b 3-0-1-0, Boatman ss 3-0-1-0, Rohrbach rf 3-0-1-0, A.Funk c 3-0-1-0, Dunkin cf 3-0-1-0, Elkins dp 2-0-0-0, Harris 2b 1-0-0-0. Totals 29-0-7-0.

Terre Haute South=111=000=4=—=7

West Vigo=000=000=0=—=0

E — Barnaby, Auten, Loudermilk. LOB — THS 9, WV 8. 2B — Rohrbach, Dunkin. SB — McVey, Kidwell. SF — Simmons.

Terre Haute South=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO

J.Kinzer (W)=7=7=0=0=0=1

West Vigo=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO

Rice (L)=7=12=7=5=2=5

HBP — by Rice (J.Kinzer), by Rice (Cottrell). T — 1:42.

Next — Both teams have home games today, Terre Haute South (9-9) against South Knox and West Vigo (11-6) against Edgewood.

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