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By The Staff

 

By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — Jessie Shartzer decided to give her defense a break Thursday evening. The junior pitcher single-handedly recorded the first nine outs for North Hardin and went on to throw a no-hitter as the Trojans topped the homestanding John Hardin Lady Bulldogs, 13-1 in five innings in a 17th District game. “She’s on, man. She’s on,” North Hardin coach Donnie Baker said of Shartzer. “She’s really coming on strong and seems to be getting better every night.” Shartzer’s recent play has been especially crucial for the Trojans, whose sophomore ace Andi Whelan has been resting a sore arm.  “Jessie is coming along a lot and now that Andi is hurt, she’s stepping up a lot,” said North Hardin junior left fielder Brooke Simmons, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. “It’s awesome because as a defense we know we still have a good pitcher out there, so we work hard to back her up. We know at the end our pitcher is going to pull through.” On Thursday, Shartzer not only pulled through at the end, she did it in the beginning and middle, too. Shartzer struck out 12 of the 17 batters she faced and had eight strikeouts and a catch before giving her defense a chance to field a ball in the fourth inning. She allowed one earned run and walked two batters. “I thought I would come out loose and ready, and my leg is feeling better, which was helping me throw my fastball,” said Shartzer, who got plenty of run support as she improved her record to 11-1. “Coach Baker was talking yesterday that we need to step up on hitting and we did tonight.” Whelan did her part as she made up for not being able to pitch by going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Whelan got things rolling with two outs in the top of the first inning as she blooped a single to right field, advanced on an infield error and scored on a single by Simmons for a 1-0 lead. The next batter, sophomore designated hitter Hallie Bird, helped bring home what proved to be the winning run as she reached base on an error. John Hardin (7-15, 1-6 district) got its only run in the second inning as senior third baseman Lauren Harris walked on six pitches, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. Senior pitcher Jenna Gachassin, who took the loss after giving up 11 runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings, was the only other player to reach base for John Hardin as she walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth but failed to advance beyond first base. “That’s probably as bad as we have played all year,” John Hardin coach Andrew Hundley said. “Please don’t take anything away from North Hardin, they are one of the best teams in the state. But when you come out of the gate and get two outs off the bat and then you fall to pieces like we did, you’re not going to win. You’re not going to beat anybody good like that.” North Hardin (20-3-1, 5-0), which has won six straight, scored two runs in the third as it stretched its lead before blowing open the game in the fourth, when it scored six runs on four hits and two errors. “We’re very, very close to being eight deep hitting,” Baker said. “Once we get to that level, we’re going to be really tough to beat — as long as our defense still holds.” With Shartzer on the rubber, it appears the Trojans have nothing to worry about. NORTH HARDIN 13, jOHN hARDIN 1, 5 INNINGS                                                 R H E North Hardin            302     62    13 11   0 John Hardin             010     00      1 0 5 Jessie Shartzer and Sarah Anderson. Jenna Gachassin, Olivia Greenwell (4) and Emily Muir. WP: Shartzer (11-1). LP: Gachassin (4-14). 3B: Andi Whelan (NH). UP NEXT: North Hardin hosts No. 12 Bowling Green Greenwood at 10 a.m. Saturday. John Hardin plays at Glasgow at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754