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By JOSH CLAYWELL
ELIZABETHTOWN — Heather Oldham wasn’t feeling like herself inside the pitcher’s circle against Elizabethtown on Wednesday, but she felt just fine at the plate.
In four plate appearances, Oldham went 3-for-3 with a triple, double, single and three runs batted in to lead the visiting Trojans past the Lady Panthers, 10-3 in a 17th District game.
“I don’t know what was going on,” Oldham said. “I just wasn’t in a groove. You have good games and bad games.”
Her performance at the plate more than made up for what she felt was a dismal night in the circle.
“That feels real good,” Oldham said. “After tonight, I really feel like I’m a force to be reckoned with. It was a big boost of confidence.”
Oldham (5-5) struck out six in seven innings. She allowed eight hits, one walk and three runs – two earned.
But after striking out the side in the bottom of the first inning, Oldham struggled with her command at times and Elizabethtown (8-10 overall, 2-5 in district) took advantage in the bottom of the second.
Senior catcher Jessica Rediker led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by eighth-grader Sydney Herzog, took third when no one was covering for the Trojans and scored on a throwing error.
“That felt good,” Oldham said of striking out the side in the first. “I wasn’t sure how the night would go.”
Any doubt Oldham had was erased in the top of the fourth inning.
Freshman first baseman Andrea Whelan and senior second baseman Natalie Nelson hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Oldham then lined a two-run triple down the right-field line just out of the reach of Elizabethtown senior Alexis Wiseman.
“The triple didn’t really feel good off the bat,” Oldham said. “I thought she (Wiseman) had it.”
North Hardin (14-10, 5-1) extended its lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth as Nelson plated senior catcher Sarah Greenwood and junior designated player Bethany Blaise with a single to left field. The Trojans added another run when Oldham doubled to score Nelson’s pinch-runner junior Dani Clark.
“I love games like this because when there are runners on, I love being up to bat,” Nelson said. “It feels good to get that hit and score some people.”
The Lady Panthers cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom half of the inning. Wiseman led off with a single, stole second and scored on eighth-grader Dionna Ditto’s single. Ditto was thrown out at second base trying to stretch the hit into a double.
North Hardin put the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the sixth. Senior third baseman Brittany Simmons reached on an error and junior Shameen Eure was hit by a pitch. Greenwood then smacked a double to right-center scoring Simmons’ pinch-runner, sophomore Jessie Shartzer. Eure tried to score from first, but was thrown out on a close play at the plate.
After Blaise reached on a fielder’s choice, Greenwood scored when junior center fielder Sarah Anderson grounded out. Blaise scored on an error to give North Hardin an 8-2 lead.
In the bottom half of the sixth, Elizabethtown eighth-grader Mary Beth Russell led off with a single, moved to second on an error and scored on a double by Rediker.
North Hardin tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh. Oldham walked and her courtesy runner, junior Kelsey Whelan, stole second and scored on junior Lindsey Blair’s single. Blair, who moved to second on the throw home, scored on a ground out by Eure.
Elizabethtown lost for the seventh time in its last 10 games.
Junior Kristen Todd (8-10) allowed 11 hits, two walks and 10 runs – eight earned.
NORTH HARDIN 10, ELIZABETHTOWN 3
R H E
North Hardin 000 233 2 10 11 3
Elizabethtown 010 011 0 3 8 2
Heather Oldham and Sarah Greenwood. Kristen Todd and Jessica Rediker. WP: Oldham (5-5). LP: Todd (8-10). 2B: Oldham (NH), Greenwood (NH), Rediker (E). 3B: Oldham (NH).
UP NEXT: North Hardin plays host to 17th District rival John Hardin at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Elizabethtown plays host to Warren Central at 6:30 p.m. today.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752