BEARING DOWN: Madison pitcher Alexis Wolf fires plateward (above) during Monday’s game against Charlestown. Wolf, a freshman, struck out five and walked just one while tossing a two-hit shutout in the 5-0 win. The Cubs’ Brooklyn Smith (below, 29) runs across home plate as Charlestown catcher Bethany Hall reaches for the throw. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
BEARING DOWN: Madison pitcher Alexis Wolf fires plateward (above) during Monday’s game against Charlestown. Wolf, a freshman, struck out five and walked just one while tossing a two-hit shutout in the 5-0 win. The Cubs’ Brooklyn Smith (below, 29) runs across home plate as Charlestown catcher Bethany Hall reaches for the throw. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Alexis Wolf tossed a two-hit shutout and Madison clubbed nine hits in a 5-0 win over potential sectional foe Charlestown in softball action on Monday in Madison.

Wolf only struck out five but used her screwball to keep the Pirates (9-5) off-balance and relied on her defense to make plays. Charlestown did not have a clean hit until the sixth inning and by that time, the Pirates were already trailing 3-0.

"Alexis threw a great game. She's a freshman but man, she's coming on," Madison coach Tony Ralston said. "With her and (LeAnn) Fox, the 1-2 punch, we're going to be fine. If we get that kind of consistency out of our pitching, and that kind of focus on defense, we're pretty solid."

Wolf, who is the sister of former Lady Cub pitching stars Kristen and Alicia Torrance, hit a batter in the first inning and another in the third before giving up an infield single in the third. But the alert defense of shortstop Bree Barnes and first-baseman Annelise Hackney led to a put-out at third to escape the inning.

Meanwhile at the plate, Madison was chipping away at Charlestown starter Lexi Logsdon. Brooklyn Smith drew a lead-off walk in the second, Wolf singled and Smith eventually scored on a wild pitch for the Cubs' first run.

Madison (7-4) added a second run in the third when Bri Tingle reached on an infield single and scored on Hackney's hard-single to left. The Cubs went ahead 3-0 in the fourth when Wolf walked and scored on Jennie Wilson's RBI single.

A double by Smith and a single by Sarah Johann drove in two more runs in the fifth for the final margin.

Other than the third, Wolf had little trouble in dispatching the Pirates. She sat down nine batters in a row at one point before giving up a hard single to deep center field in the sixth to Logsdon. She walked the leadoff batter in the seventh but got the next three batters to close out the game.

The Madison defense played error-free and without mistakes. The infield single by Kendra Smith in the third came when Barnes fielded the ball at third, looked the runner back to second, then threw late to first. Although Smith beat out the throw, Hackney quickly threw to third to get an out on the play.

"The defense made the plays and they played with a lot of confidence," Ralston said. "Even in the third when they had the infield single. Bree was upset with herself because the girl beat the throw, but it was because she looked the runner back that we were able to get her at third. Hackney made a great throw and it got us out of the inning. And I thought Brooklyn Smith had a good day at third today. She did some really nice things.

"I'm really proud of the girls effort on defense today. It doesn't get much better than that."

Wolf walked only one batter and hit two to pick up the win. Logsdon suffered the loss after allowing four earned runs on seven hits in five innings with six walks and no strikeouts.

Smith had two hits, an RBI and scored twice to lead Madison. Barnes, Fox, Tingle, Hackney, Johann, Wolf and Wilson each added hits.

"We've turned the corner a little bit. We've got some confidence and the bats were good today Ralston said. "The biggest negative is the bunting. We didn't execute our bunting today and that cost us a few runs. Being a coach, you're always looking at something to get better on each game and today it was bunting."

Madison visits Columbus East today before hosting Jeffersonville Thursday. The Cubs return to Jeff next Monday for the opening round of the Hoosier Hills Conference tournament.

"We've got some tough games the next three weeks," Ralston said. "We've got to get focused and if we're not focused, it's going to be a rough outing. But we can hang with all of them. We need to battle. Charlestown is a quality opponent and a sectional opponent. That should give us some confidence if we do meet up again."

Class 4A No. 8 Jennings survives Southwestern 4-3

The sixth inning proved to be the difference in Monday's softball clash between Class 4A No. 8 Jennings County and Southwestern as the Panthers survived 4-3 in North Vernon.

Southwestern led 3-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning but a bunt hit by Jennings jump-started what would be a four-run rally by the home team.

The Panthers followed with three singles and a double to take the 4-3 lead and then hold off Southwestern in the top of the seventh to hang on for the win.

"They're a very good team. They got to the third time through the lineup and we just couldn't stop them," Southwestern coach Duane Ralston said. "They have three lefty slappers and they were getting their bunts down."

Austin Courtney scored a run in the top of the second to kick off Southwestern's scoring and then added a run in the third and fifth innings before Jennings rallied late in the game.

Southwestern's offense came to a halt in the final innings as the Rebels came away with just five hits. Emily McCane, who batted in the ninth spot, led the way with two hits and a team-high two runs scored.

Meagan Ralston, Karli Long and Courtney each had a hit. Ralston and Long provided an RBI each.

Jennings County had seven different players with a hit each including a double by Hannah Castor. Baylee Kreuger had two RBIs.

Kelsi Brierly started the game for Southwestern and was tagged with the loss. Brierly pitched six innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits while walking one.

Heather Feiles received the win for Jennings in a relief role. Feiles gave up an earned run on two hits through the final three innings and struck out one.

"Obviously they're a very good team," Ralston said. "All-in-all, to go up there and play a team like the way we did is a pretty good feeling. We played pretty well."

Southwestern (11-5) visits New Albany today before hosting Class A No. 4 Rising Sun on Wednesday.

Switzerland rolls to 18-1 win over ORVC-foe Shawe

Switzerland County picked up a convincing Ohio River Valley Conference softball win over Shawe on Monday, defeating the Hilltoppers 18-1 in Vevay.

The Pacers scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and tacked on 10 more in the bottom of the second and four in the bottom of the third.

Shawe scored its only run in the top of the fifth before Switzerland County ended the game on the 10-run rule.

Switzerland County (4-7, 3-3 ORVC) pounded out 16 hits in the game. Kelsi Konkle was 4-for-5 with a double, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Brooke Todd went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Taylar Jordan had two hits, two runs and two stolen bases.

Susie Reyes, Samantha Christerson, McKenna Edwards, Bre Braun, Hope Tankersley, Baylie Scudder and Kassidy Murray each had a hit.

Shawe (3-11, 1-7 ORVC) got two hits from Maddie Waller and one from Stephanie Snodgrass. Megg Hensler provided the team's lone run.

Konkle picked up the win inside the circle for the Pacers in a five-inning effort. The sophomore gave up an unearned run on three hits and struck out eight.

Shawe starter Amelia Koehler was tagged with the loss.

Switzerland County and Shawe both return to action on Wednesday for ORVC games. The Pacers visit South Ripley and the Hilltoppers visit Jac-Cen-Del.