May 26—JIMTOWN — Jimtown had a hard time keeping up with the No. 3-ranked team in Class 3A Friday, falling to New Prairie, 10-0, in five innings in the Class 3A, Sectional 19 championship game in Baugo Township.
New Prairie (27-5) was the designated home team for the game, despite it being played on the Jimmies' home field. Cougars sophomore Ana Geyer hit a two-RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to clinch just the third sectional championship in New Prairie program history. The others came in 2006 and 2019.
"They're rare around our place, so we're very happy to have it," said New Prairie coach Derek Hicks of winning a sectional title.
New Prairie scored runs in four of the five innings. They tallied three in the first frame, starting with an RBI bunt single from senior Makayla Collins. Geyer then had an RBI groundout to score senior Abby Robakowski, doubling the Cougars' lead. The final run then came on an RBI single from senior Avery Moughlin, plating McKenzie Waltz, who was courtesy running for Collins.
"Way too hard to come back when you're down early," Jimtown coach Brandy Eberhart said. "Obviously, we didn't. We weren't the same team (Friday) as we normally are. I don't know if it was nerves or if we just weren't mentally prepared."
History then happened for New Prairie in the second inning.
With her younger sister, Randi, on base, Abby Robakowski crushed a two-run home run over the right field wall. That gave the senior 22 on the season, tying the single-season record for homers in a season in Indiana history. Bremen's Erin Coffel also hit 22 bombs in 2018.
"That was great," said Hicks of the record-tying homer. "She felt like she had a little pressure on herself — she really didn't, because the team had her back. I tried to tell her that, but she just felt it. She's a person that takes it all in and puts it on her shoulders. I was glad to see her get that off her back (Friday), and hopefully she gets another one to break it. That'd be great."
Jimtown's best chance to score came in the fourth. Trailing 5-0, sophomore Kendal McPhee led off the inning with a double off the center field wall. McPhee then advanced to third base via a steal.
Unfortunately for the Jimmies, that's as far as she'd reach. Three strikeouts, sandwiched around a two-out walk drawn by junior Alexa Alvey, ended the scoring threat. McPhee's double would be the only hit Jimtown recorded in the game off Geyer, who also struck out nine batters in her five innings of work.
"That was tough," Eberhart said. "We got our leadoff hitter on, and then did nothing with it. (New Prairie) did their job, and we didn't execute."
"That was a little scary right there," Hicks added. "We weren't calling timeout yet to go talk, but we were getting close."
Emily Mrozinski and Madelaine Gilpin drove in runs in the bottom of the fourth for the Cougars. Mrozinski then scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-0 through four frames.
Geyer's game-ending hit came after New Prairie had loaded the bases with one out in the fifth.
New Prairie will now host either Tippecanoe Valley or Rensselaer Central in a one-game regional championship contest this Tuesday. The sectional final between the Vikings and Bombers is set for Saturday morning.
It was a tough loss for the Jimmies, which sees it season end with a 17-10 record. A good thing for the program is that the entire starting lineup from Friday's game will return next season.
Only two seniors graduate: Makenna Brown and Jaymie Clere.
"We should be able to build off this," Eberhart said. "We should come back strong next year. We return all of our starters."
Austin Hough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.