Welcome back, Annie! Waggoner fans 15 and homers as Stars stop Class A No.1 Barr-Reeve

BNL’s Annie Waggoner struck out 15 as the No.3 Stars topped Class A No.1 Barr-Reeve 5-1 on Tuesday.

MONTGOMERY – Welcome back, Annie, to that same old place you laughed about.

After missing a game to nurse an ankle infection, Bedford North Lawrence ace Annie Waggoner returned to form, striking out 15 as the Stars, ranked No.3 in Class 4A, shut down Class A No.1 Barr-Reeve 5-1 on Tuesday afternoon.

Waggoner, a Miss Softball candidate and Indiana State recruit, also blasted a solo home run, and she joined prestigious company with her 500th career strikeout. Tori Nikirk added a key two-run single during a three-run first inning as BNL (17-5) took early control to vanquish the Vikings (13-3).

Waggoner might want to pitch at Barr-Reeve every night. Two years ago, she fanned 14 and launched two homers to overpower the Vikings. This time, she scattered three hits while improving to 11-3 in the circle, and she reached double digits in strikeouts for the fifth time this season.

“She threw well, threw hard,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “She was dealing. It’s pretty cool for her to get to 500, and we have a lot of games left, so 600 is not out of the question if she continues to threw well.”

BNL pounced quickly against Barr-Reeve starter Kennedy Huff. Lauryn Anderson and Ava Ratliff started the early rally with singles, and Braxton McCauley drove in the first run. With two outs and the bases loaded, Nikirk smacked a single to center for a 3-0 advantage.

Waggoner’s solo shot in the third made it 4-0. McCauley followed with a sizzling drive off the fence in center for a double, and Aliza Jewell singled her home for another run. The Vikings brought in ace hurler Karlye Graber in the fourth, and she fanned nine over the last four frames, but the damage had been done.

“We talk about adding on runs, scoring with two outs, scoring first,” Gilbert said. “It’s really critical we get a base hit to score with two outs.”

Barr-Reeve’s Willow Thompson cranked a solo homer in the bottom of the third.

McCauley had two hits for the Stars.

BNL will visit Jennings County on Thursday.