Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Northridge sophomore Kylee Lantz swings at a pitch. Northridge softball defeated Elkhart Memorial 4-2 on a hot Tuesday afternoon, May 20, 2014, in Middlebury. (James Buck / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)
Concord High School aims to spoil Northridge High School's quest for third straight softball sectional title
Posted on May 24, 2014 at 12:36 p.m.

A loss in the middle of May brought the high-flying Raiders back down to earth.

Concord had just surprised Northern Lakes Conference opponent Northridge with a 3-1 win May 10, handing the Raiders their second loss of the year.

"We lost a little bit of focus in the middle of the season,“ Northridge coach Bo O’Dell said. ”We told the girls, ’Be excited and be proud of your accomplishments, but we haven’t won anything yet.’ After the Concord loss, they got back to work and they understood we are beatable on any given day.“

Still, the Raiders are still the favorites in a sectional they’ve won twice in a row. Led by all-state candidate pitcher Haley Nixon, Northridge (23-2, 13-1 NLC) faces Goshen in the middle of three first-round games Monday, May 26.

”We got a pretty good draw,“ O’Dell said. ”It keeps the week as normal as possible since we already usually play Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It’s pretty much like another conference week.“

O’Dell said between Nixon’s pitching and the hitting prowess of Brianne O’Dell, Grace Grevengoed and Hannah Kistler, the Raiders have all the right ingredients to defend their title.

But if Northridge can get past Goshen and beat the winner of Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central in the second round, a rematch with Concord might loom in the championship. The Minutemen, who have a second round bye, must beat Warsaw for a spot in the title game.

Northridge beat Concord in the sectional championship last year, 5-0.

But the dynamics have shifted in the year since that game was played. With pitcher ReAnn Miller playing her best softball of the year, Concord is peaking at just the right time.

"A year ago when we played Northridge, there wasn’t a kid on the field that thought we could win,” Concord coach Dawn Austin said. “There’s been a change in mentality, a change in attitude. I told the girls, ’Everybody puts their shoes on the same way.’”

If Concord (19-8) and Northridge do meet in the sectional championship, Austin expects more of a boxing match than a home run derby.

"We played (South Bend) St. Joseph (May 23) and lost, but it was an extremely competitive game,“ she said. ”We made a mistake and it cost us. It’ll be the exact same scenario against Northridge. Whoever makes the mistake is going to be the one to go down.“

 

Area Softball Sectionals

Class 4A

At Elkhart Central

Monday, May 26

Elkhart Central vs. Elkhart Memorial, 10 a.m.

Goshen vs. Northridge, follows.

Warsaw vs. Concord, follows.

Wednesday, May 28

Elkhart Central/Elkhart Memorial winner vs. Goshen/Northridge winner, 6 p.m.

Friday, May 30

Championship, 6 p.m.

At Mishawaka (Baker Park)

Monday, May 26

South Bend Clay vs. South Bend Riley, 11 a.m.

South Bend Washington vs. South Bend Adams, follows.

Mishawaka vs. Penn, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28

Clay/Riley winner vs. Plymouth, 5 p.m.

Washington/Adams winner vs. Mishawaka/Penn winner, follows.

Friday, May 30

Championship, 7 p.m.

 

Class 3A

At Fairfield

Monday, May 26

Lakeland vs. West Noble, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, May 27

Tippecanoe Valley vs. Wawasee, 5 p.m.

Fairfield vs. Whitko, follows.

Wednesday, May 28

Lakeland/West Noble winner vs. NorthWood, 5 p.m.

Tippecanoe Valley/Wawasee winner vs. Fairfield/Whitko winner, follows.

Thursday, May 29

Championship, 5 p.m.

At South Bend St. Joseph (Newton Park)

Monday, May 26

Glenn vs. Marian, 11 a.m.

Culver Academy vs. South Bend St. Joseph, follows.

Tuesday, May 27

Glenn/Marian winner vs. Culver Academy/St. Joseph winner, 5 p.m.

Rochester vs. Jimtown, follows.

Wednesday, May 28

Championship, 6 p.m.

 

Class 2A

At Westview

Monday, May 26

Westview vs. Central Noble, 10 a.m.

Bremen vs. Prairie Heights, follows.

Tuesday, May 27

Westview/Central Noble winner vs. Bremen/Prairie Heights winner, 5 p.m.

Fremont vs. LaVille, follows.

Thursday, May 29

Championship, 5 p.m.

 

Class 1A

At Triton

Monday, May 26

Elkhart Christian vs. Hamilton, 1 p.m.

Bethany Christian vs. Triton, follows.

Tuesday, May 27

Championship, 7 p.m.