Bedford North Lawrence Softball

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SERIES: 3 key questions facing the Stars

BNL pitcher Zoe Adams fires a pitch toward the plate.

BNL pitcher Zoe Adams fires a pitch toward the plate. The Stars went 17-11 last season.

SOFTBALL

BNL must find a way

to compete with Floyd

in HHC and 4-A sectional

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Note: With the start of official practices for fall sports, we’ve looked at five different sports and examined the key issues heading into the 2016-17 calendar season.

1. Can Bedford North Lawrence end its sectional skid?

The Stars have won 10 sectional championships in program history, but the last came in 2000. Not only has winning one gotten tougher because of class sports, but the Hoosier Hills Conference has greatly improved in the game with the emergence of power programs Floyd Central (9 sectionals since 2001), New Albany (state champion in 1987 and state runner-up in ’88 and ’91) and Jennings County (5 sectional crowns since 2005).

The Stars advanced to the sectional title game last season but fell 8-0 to Floyd Central.

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SERIES: 3 key questions facing the Stars

Drew Hensley had BNL's first hit, a double off the left-field fence, during a 15-run third inning.

Drew Hensley and the senior Stars will have one last chance to win championships during their final campaign in 2017.

BASEBALL

BNL’s core group faces

final chance to fulfill

promise of past success

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Note: This week, with the start of official practices for fall sports looming, we’ll look at five different sports and examine the key issues heading into the 2016-17 calendar season. 

1. Will the Stars fulfill their potential?

Ever since Bedford North Lawrence’s senior class advanced to the Junior League World Series in 2013, much has been expected. During the last three varsity seasons, the Stars have gone 14-15 (with some of those youngsters contributing as freshmen), 20-9-1 and 17-11.

Youth success on the way up to the varsity level does not guarantee anything. Many times, proven often, athletes will mature and peak early, then struggle to maintain their dominating position when the later bloomers arrive. Seniors can often be distracted (graduation, the future, social lives) during a busy spring. This group has a chance to be special, if everything falls in place.

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SOFTBALL: Red Helmet Society still swinging

Cassidy Morron

Cassidy Morron stares at her target while working in Monday’s Alumni Game at BNL Field.

Former Stars celebrate

program’s growth during

Alumni Game at BNL Field

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Brooke Ratliff is going to hear about this. She had been cautioned, on the drive to the ballpark for this alumni game featuring former Bedford North Lawrence softball stars, by her nine-year-old daughter. Young eyes were watching, although older eyes were the first to notice Ratliff failed to run hard to first on a ground ball.

Michelle Riester takes a cut at a pitch. Riester was the oldest among the 35 who played in the event.

Michelle Riester takes a cut at a pitch. Riester was the oldest among the 35 who played in the event.

“I may need to run for her,” Ratliff’s daughter muttered. That was after issuing a stern warning “‘Mom, if you strike out looking, I’m going to yell at you.” Ratliff, now a youth coach, had to smile. “I think she’s heard that way too many times,” she admitted.

On this sweltering, humid, melt-into-your-shoes evening, Ratliff is going to get a reprieve. So will the 34 other former Stars who basked, and baked, in the limelight once again, sweating through a doubleheader to celebrate a program they helped build. The mind is willing even if the muscles are now weak.

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COLUMN: 2016 year in review

BNL coach Jamie Hudson and the Stars received a bye for the first round of the sectional.

Former BNL boys basketball coach Jamie Hudson was a key part in several storylines during the 2015-16 campaign.

Where did the 2015-16 season go? It was the vapor that appeared for a little while and vanished. Somewhere between August’s heat and May’s monsoon rains, Bedford North Lawrence crammed in 19 sports and several hundred events. And even when the school doors close for the short summer, the games go on.

The sports year was interesting, to understate the obvious. Basketball dominated the headlines again, of course, and captured the public interest with a controversial coaching change, but other teams and individual athletes made the campaign memorable with their accomplishments.

Here’s a look at the Top 20 stories of the past year:

20. BNL baseball raises over $9,000 in Coaches vs. Cancer game: Sometimes it doesn’t matter who wins. The Stars honored cancer survivors and remembered the disease’s victims during its annual fundraiser game with county-rival Mitchell. For the record, Austin Long struck out 10 as the Stars overpowered the Bluejackts 10-0 in six innings.

19. Megan Lambrecht shatters school record: Lambrecht, a sophomore, pulled off a unique double play, competing in track and softball simultaneously during a hectic spring. She made it worthwhile when she shattered the school record in the shot put, heaving that ball 37-11 while winning the Hoosier Hills Conference title in that event.

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Coach of the Year Award

BNL golf coch Mike Wright guided the Stars to the 2016 state finals. Photo courtesy of Angie Tidd

BNL golf coach Mike Wright guided the Stars to the 2016 state finals.
Photo courtesy of Angie Tidd

Wright guided BNL golf

to state finals for first

time since 2009 season

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence boys golf coach Mike Wright was named TheHHCSports.com Coach of the Year after leading the Stars to the 2016 state finals.

Wright, in his 18th season, guided BNL to the Hoosier Hills Conference title, its first since 2011. The Stars finished second in the IHSAA sectional at Indiana University, then qualified for their first appearance in the state championship since 2009 with a third-place finish against a loaded field in the regional at Champions Pointe.

“Getting to the state finals is an accomplishment in itself, but going there with a sectional no longer at Otis Park is something,” Wright said. “Getting there, not going through Otis (the sectional was moved in 2013) means a little more.

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GIRLS: BNL Athlete of the Year

BNL goalkeeper Jaclyn Dufrense dives to deflect a shot near the post. BNLs defense surrendered 19 shots as Bloomington North won the season opener 3-1.

BNL goalkeeper Jaclyn Dufrense dives to deflect a shot near the post.

Jaclyn Dufresne made

mark around the net

in soccer and tennis

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Jaclyn Dufresne was always around the net during her senior season at Bedford North Lawrence.

Dufresne, a force in soccer and tennis, was named TheHHCSports.com’s third Female Athlete of the Year. She was named the All-Hoosier Hills Conference goalkeeper for the second straight season as the Stars finished 10-5-3.

She also showed her versatility, joining the tennis team for the first time during her senior year. She proved to be a natural in doubles, pouncing on shots at the net.

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SOFTBALL: Stars come full circle in 2016

BNL pitcher Zoe Adams went the distance while scattering 9 hits and striking out only 1 batter.

BNL pitcher Zoe Adams finished with a 9-5 record and 2.54 ERA in 2016.

Freshman pitchers, young

team found solid ground

during run to 17-11 record

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

When the 2016 season started, Bedford North Lawrence coach Brad Gilbert was clueless, and apprehensive, about the potential and the final destination of a young team with an inexperienced pitching staff.

See, pitching is paramount in the game. It’s ultimately an arms race. And BNL was going to throw freshmen to the wolves. That circle out there in the middle of the diamond wasn’t going to provide any protection. It’s not a safety zone.

The kids held their own. And so did the Stars, finishing 17-11 after falling to No.4 Floyd Central in the Class 4-A sectional final at Seymour. That solid finish, combined with the fact BNL will return the bulk of its starting lineup, promises a strong future for a program that won its last sectional championship in 2000.

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SOFTBALL: Dufresne, Lambrecht named All-HHC

BNLs Jenna Dufresne slides safely into home to score the first run.

BNL’s Jenna Dufresne was named to the HHC First Team

Bedford North Lawrence’s Jenna Dufresne and Morgan Lambrecht were named to the Hoosier Hills Conference’s First Team by the league coaches.

Dufresne, a sophomore center fielder, hit .379 and led the Stars (17-11) with 4 triples and 29 runs scored. Lambrecht, a senior first baseman, batted .368 with 2 home runs and 19 RBIs.

Floyd Central, the league and Class 4-A sectional champions, dominated the All-HHC team with four selections: pitcher Kassie King, shortstop Gabbi Jenkins, and outfielders Jensen Striegel and Taylor Castleberry.

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SOFTBALL: Green Machine rolls to sectional title

Floyd Centrals Jensen Striegel hugs pitcher Kassie King after the Highlanders conquered BNL 8-0 in the Class 4-A sectional final on Wednesday.

Floyd Central’s Jensen Striegel hugs pitcher Kassie King after the Highlanders conquered BNL 8-0 in the Class 4-A sectional final on Wednesday.

Floyd Central claims

third straight crown

with 8-0 win over BNL

Box score

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

SEYMOUR – The Big Green Machine rumbled to another Class 4-A sectional championship. That is not news. If Floyd Central ever loses, that would be noteworthy. No team in Indiana has been able to conquer the No.4 Highlanders, and the season is down to four games.

No in-state opponent has played them tougher than Bedford North Lawrence. The Stars lost a one-run decision in the first round of the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament, and Floyd was clinging to a precarious 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning in the sectional final on Wednesday afternoon.

This machine grinds away, applying pressure, exposing weak points, exploiting mistakes. When BNL’s defense finally faltered, the Highlanders pounced, scoring 7 runs in their final two at-bats while pounding BNL into 8-0 submission and winning their third straight sectional title.

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SOFTBALL: Late great Kate and a dirty Day

BNLs Jenna Dufresne hits the dirt to score a run.

BNL’s Jenna Dufresne hits the dirt to score a run. The Stars clipped New Albany 9-8 in 8 innings to advance to the sectional final.

BNL scores dramatic run

in 8th inning to clip NA,

advance to sectional final

Box score

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

SEYMOUR – Under a cloud of dust, as everyone held their breath, Bedford North Lawrence’s Tristin Day was sprawled across home plate. The question the umpire was asking – and the answer would determine the postseason fate of two teams – was crucial: Where was the softball?

If it was resting in the glove of New Albany catcher Terah Crosier, Day could have been out. Her slide and the ball arrived at the critical point simultaneously. When all that dirt finally settled, the ball was found, loose on the ground, and the Stars exploded with the joy of the victorious.

BNL sophomore Kate Nicholson had two hits, including the game winner in the bottom of the eighth inning.

BNL sophomore Kate Nicholson had two hits, including the game winner in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Day scampered home, powered there by Kate Nicholson’s sharp single to center, in the bottom of the eighth inning with the deciding run as the Stars avenged a regular-season loss with a thrilling 9-8 win over New Albany in the Class 4-A sectional semifinal at Seymour on Tuesday night.

BNL (17-10) advanced to face No.4 Floyd Central, an 11-1 winner over Jennings County in the first semifinal, in the championship game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Stars will seek their first sectional title since 2000.

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