FRANKFORT – The gameplan for Saturday's Class 1A semistate semifinal, said Triton High School softball coach Steve McBride, was to keep North Miami from scoring runs.
The gameplan turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking, as the top-ranked Lady Warriors used junior Josie Wood's display of power and pitching to beat the 10th-ranked Lady Trojans 9-1 at Clinton Prairie High School.
Wood hit a solo home run in the first inning, a three-run blast in the sixth and struck out 10 Triton batters while scattering five hits and walking two in seven innings in the pitcher's circle.
To say the least, Wood, a hard-hitting and hard-throwing southpaw who committed to Indiana University when she was a freshman, was as advertised.
“The gameplan was to keep them from scoring runs, and that just didn't happen,” said McBride, whose team finished the season with a 23-7 record and the program's first regional championship. “I wouldn't trade our kids for anything. They played with a lot of heart. This has been a wonderful team. We had chemistry, and we never had problems with attitude. Our seniors have been excellent leaders. This is new territory for our players and our fans. We played a team that is going to be hard to beat the rest of the way.”
With the win over Triton, North Miami improved to 29-4 on the season.
The Lady Warriors earned their 30th win of the season and a berth in the state finals when they beat Carroll (Flora) 1-0 in nine innings in the title tilt Saturday evening.
Carroll opened semistate action at Clinton Prairie with a 1-0 win over Tri-Central.
Wood recorded 18 strikeouts in the championship game, and North Miami will now face North Daviess in the state championship Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
Triton knotted the semifinal game at 1-1 with a two-out run in the second inning, as sophomore Megan Berger hit a single and pinch-runner Brooklyn Beatty scored on junior Lauren Hostrawser’s double.
North Miami plated what turned out to be the game-winning run in the third inning, added two more in the fourth and another in the fifth.
Leading 5-1 in the sixth inning, Wood smashed a three-run homer over the rightfield fence, and senior Savannah Davis capped the Lady Warriors’ outburst with an RBI single that scored sophomore Josie Knauff.
“I wouldn’t say we fell apart, but we contributed to their runs,” said McBride. “Some of it was our errors, but a lot of it was just North Miami executing. They’re a very good team. If we play them another day, maybe it’s different. Today we didn’t get the job done.”
While North Miami has its standout pitcher for another season, McBride must say goodbye to his.
Senior Mallorie Jennings, Triton’s all-time leader in strikeouts, pitched her final prep game Saturday.
Jennings pitched six innings against North Miami, giving up nine runs, seven hits and four walks. She struck out five.
Jennings had two singles off Wood, while Berger and Krystal Sellers had one single each, and Howstraser hit a double.

NORTH MIAMI 9, TRITON 1
(Class 1A semistate semifinal)
T    010    000    0    –    1
NM    101    214    X    –    9
Triton – Mallorie Jennings (L, 6IP, 7H, 9R, 5K, 4BB).
N. Miami – Josie Wood (W, 6IP, 5H, 1R, 10K, 2BB).
2B – Lauren Hostrawser (T).
HR – Wood (NM) 2
Records: Triton 23-7, North Miami 29-4
Other semifinal: Carroll (Flora) 1, Tri-Central 0
Championship: N. Miami 1, Carroll 0 (9 inn)