BOONE GROVE | Winning ugly might not look the best, but when it comes to the Porter County Conference tournament, advancing to the next round is all that mattered to Boone Grove coach Ron Saunders on Friday.
The Wolves managed just five hits off South Central pitcher Madisyn Walter, but had 19 reach base in a sloppy 6-2 victory that was played in windy conditions.
Sarah Brown and Mackenzie Starcevich combined for all five hits, and Christine Hendron scored a pair of runs.
“Execution is the name of the game,” Saunders said. “We told them that this was the PCC tournament, and we needed them to stay focused on the job.”
The Satellites (7-9) took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning before Starcevich came to the plate and ripped a triple to left field. The senior nearly stretched the triple into a home run, but stumbled around third base and nearly got caught in a rundown. Starcevich scored one batter later when her sister Kennedy hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
“I just kept running, but they got it in really fast,” Starcevich. “They were getting the momentum, and that hit was big to turn it around.”
Starcevich added bases-loaded triple in the fifth inning which gave the Wolves (13-5) all the insurance runs they would need to advance to the semifinals against the Hanover Central-Washington Township winner at 10 a.m. today at LaCrosse.
“When the girls came in the dugout (after the fourth inning), I told them the game was in their hands,” Saunders said. “It was up to them to answer, because (South Central) wanted the game 10 times more than we did.”
Riley Popplewell had two hits and reached base three times for South Central, while Mikayla Eaton added two hits. Walter registered five strikeouts.
“We made some progress today,” South Central coach Patrick Fuller said. “We have to pick our spots, and we need to do a better job of putting the ball in play. We’re a young team, and we just need more repetition.”