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Alexander powers Frankton over Winchester

BY RICK TEVERBAUGH

Elwood Call-Leader

LAPEL — Frankton advanced through the first round of the Class 2A Lapel Softball Sectional with an 8-3 victory over Winchester.

The main thrust of the offense came from a familiar source. Junior shortstop Makena Alexander had two triples and a home run as part of an 11-hit attack against the Golden Falcons.

Winchester collected only three hits in the game, all coming from senior Gena Moore. Her first was a big one, a two-run homer to center to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead in the first.

“She’s an All-State player,” said Frankton coach Jeremy Parker.

The only other run Winchester managed against Frankton starting pitcher Adyson Coppess came in the third on a walk, a bunt single, a steal and a throwing error. Coppess pitched six innings, striking out 12. Paige Parker pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two more.

“She wasn’t her sharpest,” Parker said of Coppess. “But she’s a fighter.”

Frankton got all of the offense it needed in a four-run first. Coppess led off with a walk. She moved to third on Claire Duncan’s double. Alexander blooped a triple to right against an outfield that was playing deep.

“I tried to move it around,” said Alexander. “I think I surprised them a bit with getting all the way to third. But coach let me go.”

That tied the game at 2-2. Two Falcon errors and a double by Jilly Hilderbrand added two more runs for the Eagles.

A run came in the second for Frankton when Alexander ripped a line drive to left and the ball got by the Winchester fielder before she could get a glove on it. Alexander had her second triple. She scored her second run on a groundout.

Frankton made it 6-3 in the third when Hilderbrand opened with a single. One out later, Alivia Swisher hit into a fielder’s choice and stole second base. Abby Duncan delivered an RBI single from her number nine spot in the batting order. Duncan did the same thing in the fifth following a McKenzie McCorkhill single.

“It was good to get that production at the bottom of the order,” said Parker. “We use the bottom of the lineup to flip it to the top. So, getting those hits is important.”

Alexander capped her performance in the fifth with the season’s 16th home run, a one-out solo shot.

“It was nice that they pitched to me,” she said. “I kind of thought they might walk me when I came up in the sixth. But they pitched to me, and I got under that one (fly ball to center). Their coach complimented me after the game and that meant a lot.”

Parker was not pleased overall with his team’s hitting.

“I think we were amped up for the sectional,” he said. “We were out in front of too many pitches. We’ve got to do better. But this is a win, and this is the time of the season we’ve been pointing toward all year.”

Frankton (16-7) advances to Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal against Wapahani, who routed Monroe Central 15-2 in Tuesday’s other first-round game. Elwood takes on Alexandria, who defeated Lapel in Monday’s opening game. The championship game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Winchester closes at 5-15.