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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.

BNL catcher Hailey Miller prepares to fire to first base after recording a force out at home plate.

BNL catcher Hailey Miller and the Stars must figure out a way to cut down Floyd Central in the HHC and Class 4-A sectional.

2. Can the Stars compete with Floyd Central?

The Highlanders, with so much talent and a strong feeder system in place, will be the measuring stick for the foreseeable future. BNL, which has proven it can stand swing for swing with the defending champions in tournament meetings, has come up agonizingly short against its nemesis.

The Stars lost four seniors (and only two starters) from last year’s 17-11 team. They will be one of the favorites to challenge Floyd’s reign. But until a team can slay the dragon, the Highlanders will continue to be the team to beat.

BNLs Loena Morron gave up only 2 hits byut walked 5 in her relief stint in the circle.

BNL’s Loena Morron went 6-5 with a 3.14 ERA as a freshman.

3. Who will emerge as the dominant staff ace?

No other sport is dominated by one position like softball, and pitching is paramount. The Stars had a team ERA of 2.82 last year, with freshmen Zoe Adams (9-5, 2.54) and Leona Morron (6-5, 3.14) doing most of the work in the circle. For the Stars to take the step to the next level, one of them (or both) will have to become a feared force. They had a combined strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3-to-1 but averaged only 1.4 strikeouts per inning. Increase that number, take the pressure off the defense and limit the quality contact by opposing hitters, and a young but explosive BNL offense could take the Stars a long way.