CLOSE PLAY: Madison’s Hannah Bickers slides around Switzerland County catcher Brooke Todd (above) on a bang-bang play at the plate during Friday’s game in Vevay. Bickers was called out on the play but it didn’t matter much in the Cubs’ 12-3 win. Madison catcher Cadie Povaleri (below) zeroes in on a foul ball in front of the Switzerland dugout. Povaleri had three hits in the win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
CLOSE PLAY: Madison’s Hannah Bickers slides around Switzerland County catcher Brooke Todd (above) on a bang-bang play at the plate during Friday’s game in Vevay. Bickers was called out on the play but it didn’t matter much in the Cubs’ 12-3 win. Madison catcher Cadie Povaleri (below) zeroes in on a foul ball in front of the Switzerland dugout. Povaleri had three hits in the win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Madison spotted Switzerland County three runs in the first inning before roaring back to claim a 12-3 win in softball Friday in Vevay.

The Lady Cubs, who have been on an offensive tear recently, ripped off 14 hits and scored 10 runs in the final three innings to pull away for their ninth win of the season.

"I'm really confident one through nine that we can hit the ball," Madison coach Tony Ralston said. "If we can hit up and down the lineup, that just gives us so many other options. I'm happy for the girls. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now."

Switzerland freshman hurler Kelsi Konkle held Madison hitless through the first two innings but the Lady Cubs (9-4) gave indication of things to come with several loud outs.

Trailing 3-0, Annelise Hackney doubled off the fence to lead off the third inning and later scored on Bree Barnes' double into the gap for Madison's first run.

Cadie Povaleri drilled a two-out double in the fourth and later scored on a wild pitch to pull the Cubs to within one at 3-2.

Madison's big inning was the fifth. Switzerland (4-9) committed three errors in the frame but the Cubs also got hits from Bri Tingle, Barnes, Kaitlin Brown and Povaleri to score five runs and take a commanding 7-3 lead.

Switzerland coach Steve Konkle was pleased with the way his team played - especially the 3-0 start - but knew that it was only a matter of time before the Cub hitting machine got rolling.

"Madison hit the ball really, really well today and they've been hitting well lately from what I've been reading in the paper," Konkle said. "We were kind of expecting that. A couple of the bobbles we had were really hard-hit balls and they've got runners that make you field the ball and make good decisions. There were a couple of times where we didn't make good decisions."

Barnes tripled and scored when the throw back into the infield was overthrown for Madison's lone run in the sixth. Four more singles and a Hannah Bickers two-run double plated four runs in the seventh to cap the scoring.

While Madison's offense was revving up, Brown was shutting the Pacers down with her performance in the circle.

Ralston gave the ball to Tingle for her first varsity start and while the freshman pitched well, two early errors and a pair of doubles led to three first-inning runs by the Pacers.

Kelsi Konkle opened the inning by reaching on a throwing error and Brooke Todd drew a walk. Ashley Watson then scored both with a long double to left field.

Shelby O'Neal reached when Madison first baseman Ashleigh Poling was unable to field a throw from third. But Poling alertly tracked down the ball and threw a strike home to nail Watson. O'Neal then scored on Courtney Carfield's double to center.

Tingle sat the side down in order in the second but ran into more trouble in the third when an error and a single put two runners on base with Carfield at the plate. At that point Ralston decided to make a move and brought in Brown to put out the fire.

"I thought Tingle pitched a good game. It was her first start and we needed to give her more support behind her," Ralston said. "I really wanted to give her a chance to go further but Switz was getting warmed up and I wanted to put a stop to it."

Brown struck out Carfield but the Pacer batter reached base anyway on the wild pitch third strike. Brown then popped McKayla Turner up to end the threat.

Brown sat down the next 10 batters she faced and didn't allow another baserunner until the seventh with Vicky Abbott singled sharply to center. By that time the game was essentially over.

"They're running in spurts right now," Steve Konkle said of his offense. "They haven't hit their full stride quite yet. They'll have two or three good innings and then shut down. They'll hit early and then not hit late or hit late and not early. They haven't put in a good full game or two-game span. We're hoping that's down the road quickly."

Barnes lined out to center on a hard smash to open the game then didn't make another out, going 4-for-5 with a double, a triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Povaleri was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored, and Bickers had two doubles and two RBIs.

Brown picked up the win with four and one-third innings of one-hit relief. The senior struck out three and walked none. Tingle gave up three runs - one earned - in two and two-thirds, with a strikeout and a walk.

Konkle gave up seven runs - just three earned - on seven hits with six strikeouts and a walk in five innings. Turner worked the final two innings and allowed five runs on seven hits.

"Kelsi pitched real well and I thought Brooke (Todd) did a real good job behind the plate," Steve Konkle said. "That was Kelsi's best outing so far. She had good control of her pitches, she kept the batters where she wanted them. (Madison) figured her out and they made some adjustments and that's to their credit. I was satisfied with that part of the game."

Both teams return to action today with conference road games. Switzerland County plays South Ripley in a rare 6 p.m. Saturday game while Madison visits Bedford North Lawrence.

With wins in five of its last seven games, Madison is anxious to see where they stand against one of the Hoosier Hills Conference's best teams.

"We're going to go at them. We're going to see what they've got and they're going to see what we've got," Ralston said. "That's what I've been telling the girls. It's been great tonight and let's celebrate, but tomorrow let's go and try to beat Bedford. And same thing Monday (against Charlestown). We've got a tough schedule coming up. We've got to stay focused. If we do that, we can be successful."