Houlton will pitch for the University of Kansas next year. It took Wilson just seconds to define Houlton’s place in Savanna softball history.
“She’s the cream of the crop,” Wilson said. “Best there is.”
Harris, however, is just a 14-year-old freshman, making her game Saturday all the more impressive. Mixing her fastball with a changeup that stayed on the corners of the strike zone and kept Savanna’s hitters always off-balance, she allowed just two hits and three walks in seven innings, striking out 11.
“Her best pitches are her inside fastball and her changeup,” Dale coach Andy Powell said. “She is going to mix it up, and we only threw fastballs and changeups today. We got away from her curveball a couple of weeks ago, and she really mixed it up well.”
Despite Harris’ command, Savanna had chances to score. Its biggest came in the top of the seventh, when Rosiemae Martinez and Jessica Wright led off with walks, then Baleigh Drake sacrificed them to second and third.
Tanna Heddleston then bunted one back towards Harris, and Harris had no choice but to throw to first, allowing Martinez to score and make it 3-2 Dale. Now with two outs in the top of the seventh, Harris struck out Savanna nine-hole hitter Hailey Wilson for the third time, ending the game.
“They didn’t stop fighting,” Wilson said. “There are no regrets.”
Savanna put two baserunners on with two outs in the first but couldn’t score, then Taylor Haynie got thrown out trying to steal third after a one-out double in the third. Jordin Wilson, who went 2-for-2 with a run scored, led off the fourth with a walk, took second on an error and stole third, then came home on an RBI groundout by Wright to make it 3-1 Dale.