LAKEVILLE – What appeared to be an even matchup on paper was exactly that on the softball diamond Saturday afternoon at Newton Park.

In a class 2A semistate semifinal that featured just two hits, the fifth-ranked Tipton Blue Devils scored a run in the bottom of the second inning and held on for a 1-0 win over the third-ranked Whitko Lady Wildcats.

Tipton sophomore Claire Norred struck out 12, walked two and tossed a complete-game no-hitter, while Whitko junior Ellie Snep walked one, struck out five and only gave up a pair of singles.

The difference in the game was a two-out fielder’s choice in the second inning, as Tipton sophomore Ellie Browning put an offering from Snep into play.

The Lady ‘Cats attempted to throw out sophomore Paige Golden at home, but she slid under the tag of Whitko junior catcher Emalee Duggins.

Of the six innings that Tipton batted in, Snep faced more than three batters in just the second and sixth innings.

The Blue Devils sent seven batters to the plate in the second inning, and five in the sixth.

In the other four frames, Snep retired Tipton’s batters in order.

“We just had a rough inning,” said Whitko coach Michele Garr, whose team finished the season with a 21-8 record.

“We had a couple errors. Once we got past that, it was pretty much 3-up, 3-down. We had a moment of hope there, but we couldn’t string hits together.”

Duggins led off the game by drawing a four-pitch walk, but Whitko’s only other baserunner in the game was sophomore Makayla Berg, who drew a leadoff walk in the sixth.

Tipton had offensive struggles of its own, hitting just two singles in the win.

“Our goal was to keep their first four batters off the bases, and I think we did a pretty good job of that,” said Garr. “Their No. 1 and No. 2 batters are pretty fast, especially their No. 1, and our goal was to keep her off the bases.

“We had moments of greatness, and then we had moments where we struggled. The kids played well together, I think we were just a little nervous.”

Whitko was playing in the semistate round of the state tournament for just the second time in program history, but for the second consecutive year.

The Lady ‘Cats lose just two seniors – Anna Ousley and Reannon Hopkins.

“We have a lot of young kids ... it’s going to be awesome next year,” said Garr.

“We have Emalee and Ellie coming back ... Gus (freshman Augusta Garr) is coming back. I just have a couple holes to fill, and our bats are only going to get stronger as we keep working on it. We’ve got some younger kids coming up that are looking good. My other daughter is coming, so God hope me, I’ll have two kids on the team. Whitko softball is gonna be OK.”

While she has plenty returning, Garr will miss Ousley and Hopkins.

“The leadership those two have shown this year is unbelievable,” said Garr. “If someone needed help with something, they were right there. If someone was struggling with something, they were there.

“That’s where we’re gonna feel it ... in their leadership.”

Top-ranked Bremen beat Andrean 13-1 in five innings in Saturday’s first semifinal, and then beat Tipton 7-0 in the title tilt.

Bremen (26-3) will play unranked Speedway (21-6-1) in Saturday’s 2A state finals at Purdue University.


W    000    000    0    –    0

T    010    000    X    –    1

Whitko – Ellie Snep (L, 6IP, 2H, 1R, 5K, 1BB)

Tipton – Claire Norred (W, 7IP, 0H, 0R, 12K, 2BB)

Records: Whitko 21-8, Tipton 20-4

Other semifinal: Bremen 13, Andrean 1 (5 innings)

Championship: Bremen 7, Tipton 0