MONTICELLO | Savannah Kinsella worked with her private hitting coach all week. His name is Ron Bickel. He is the father of Audrey Bickel, Andrean's, and one of the state's all-time leading home run hitters.
“We worked on the outside pitch,” said Kinsella, a junior on Andrean's softball team.
It worked. Big time.
In the third inning of Saturday morning's Class 3A Twin Lakes Semistate semifinal against Yorktown, Kinsella launched her first home run of the season, a towering blast over the right-field fence that scored three runs.
Andrean would eke out a 3-2 win and advance to Saturday night's championship game against Woodlan, who beat South Bend St. Joseph's in the second semifinal.
“I was so excited,” Kinsella said. “But Katie and Cat had great at-bats before. That's what made it a three-run homer.”
Catherine “Cat” Murad led off the third inning with a walk. After being sacrificed to second, Katie Crandol had a two-strike single which set up Kinsella's bomb.
Crandol is the 59er (26-4) who had brain surgery last summer and has been battling cancer. Andrean coach Brooke Baker-Runyon she had a feeling in her gut to put Crandol in the order and it worked. Big time.
Crandol got on base in both of her at-bats.
“Katie had a great game today,” Baker-Runyon said. “She really stepped up in that hitting spot that we needed.”
Even though Andrean starter Nikki Steinbach won, raising her record to 24-2, it wasn't without a little perspiration. Yorktown (25-8) scored two runs in the top of the sixth and had a runner on second with two outs.
Steinbach forced a groundout to end the inning.
“I know I did OK,” said Steinbach, who will join Audrey Bickel at Ball State next fall. “I know I could've done better. I was confident but not as good as I could've been.”