Lady Vikings top Jay County in sectional opener behind Rethlake

Huntington North's Natasha Grover (center) digs down the line just a step too late in sectional opener action against Jay County on Tuesday, May 21. The Lady Vikings won 5-1. Photo by Scott Trauner.

Erin Rethlake struck out 19 batters and hit a first inning home run to lead the Huntington North High School varsity softball team past Jay County, 5-1, Tuesday, May 21, in the opening round of the Homestead Softball Sectional.

The Lady Vikings, 22-2, will face Homestead this afternoon, Wednesday, May 22, at 5. Homestead beat New Haven 8-5, on Tuesday.

Rethlake gave herself all the runs she need in the first inning with her 13th homer of the season, a two-run shot as the Lady Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The score stayed in place until Alyssa Hiple and Kaylynn Rosen hit back-to back-doubles and HNHS put up two insurance runs in the sixth, then Jay County stopped Rethlake's consecutive outing scoreless streak with a run in the top of the seventh on a hit batter, a hit and an HNHS error.

Makayla Whaley and Rosen each had two of the Lady Vikings' eight hits on the afternoon.

Cassie Lange and Natasha Grover had the other two HNHS ribbies.

Rethlake allowed only three hits and gave up two walks.