ELKHART — After a dramatic 5-3 win over Culver Academy in the Class 3A NorthWood Sectional on Thursday, Jimtown softball coach Brandy Eberhart made sure to compliment one aspect of her team's play against Culver Academy.
"You bunted really well today," said Eberhart in a team huddle after the game.
The ability to lay down bunts in perfect spots in the top of the seventh inning helped the Jimmies erase a 3-2 deficit.
Cearia Woods walked to start the seventh for Jimtown. Rylee McPhee then came in to pinch-run for Woods. Jessica Alvey then reached on a bunt single and went to second when an error was committed on the play. After a strikeout, Sophie Allen drove in a run on a bunt single. Allen later stole second and came around to score with Alvey after Gianna Desimone singled.
Eberhart was asked after the game if her team was good at bunting during the season.
"On occasions, yes," said Eberhart. "Today, definitely. That's one thing we did well today."
After seeing Culver score two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, Eberhart quickly decided that bunting was the best way to rally for a win.
"In the sixth inning right away I thought about doing it," Eberhart said. "We had to bunt and use our speed."
Culver coach Randy Minas wasn't completely surprised when Jimtown decided to use that strategy.
"(Jimtown) averages twice as many stolen bases as any other team out there," said Minas. "They've got to be getting on base somehow. They're not only fast when stealing, but they're fast when running the bases.
"We thought we were close to getting them, but a game goes seven innings and they got us in the darn seventh."
Jimtown starting pitcher Haley Holmes came back into the game to start the seventh after Woods relieved her with one out in the sixth. Holmes retired Culver in order in the seventh to pick up the save.
Holmes had a no-hitter through four innings before allowing three runs on six hits over the fifth and sixth innings.
"I knew she could handle it," Eberhart said about why she decided to bring Holmes back in as a pitcher in the seventh. "She was pretty upset that she came out of the game. (Culver) started adjusting to her a little bit and got some hits and I decided to mix things up a little bit."
After having no baserunners through the first two innings, Jimtown started to make solid contact off of Culver starting pitcher Hanna Cash in the third.
The Jimmies' No. 8 hitter Brianna Cook, who's a freshman, doubled with two outs and scored with two outs on Desimone's single.
Cook's RBI single gave the Jimmies a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
"(Cook) was brought up from JV," Eberhart said. "Our catcher (McKenna Farrell) got a concussion last Saturday at our game and (Cook) was the next girl in. It was her first big game. She dressed for a couple of our (varsity) games and played in a couple."
Jimtown will take a 14-9 record into today's sectional championship game against either Knox. The Redskins advanced with an 8-0 victory over Glenn. Knox reached the semistate finals last season, before losing to South Bend St. Joseph.
The Jimmies last won a sectional title in 2011.
JIMTOWN 5, CULVER ACADEMY 3
Haley Holmes, Cearia Woods (6, W), Holmes (S); Hanna Cash (L).
Jimtown: Hits – Gianna Desimone 2, Brianna Cook 2. 2B – Cook. RBI - Desimone 3.
Records: Jimtown 15-9, Culver 10-10.