MOUNT WASHINGTON - With the final night of the regular season including games against two of the top-10 teams in the state, Bullitt East softball coach Ricky Hoffman thinks he has his team as well prepared for the post-season as possible.
During the season, Bullitt East has played seven games against six of the top ten teams in the state. The Lady Chargers have been ranked as high as 16th this year, but have not beaten any of the top ten teams they have faced.
That was the case on Friday as the Lady Chargers headed to Danville for the Boyle County Invitational. The red and gold played three games that night, but because of graduation exercises on Saturday, the team did not return for bracket play the next day.
In the first game on Friday, Bullitt East dropped a 4-0 decision to the host school as the Lady Chargers collected just two hits. Jamie Lutes was the starting pitcher and three of the four runs were earned. Lutes, a senior, allowed nine hits while striking out three and walking two. All four runs scored in the first two innings.
The competition was just as good in the next game as Bullitt East squared off with defending state champion and the top-ranked team in the state this season, Allen County-Scottsville. Again, the Lady Chargers failed to score but were competitive in a 2-0 loss.
To be fully prepared for the post-season with his pitching depth, Hoffman opted to start freshman Loren Roby in this game. In just her second start of the season, Roby allowed just seven hits with one strike out and one walk. Allen County scored single runs in the first and fifth inning and both runs were earned.
Bullitt East collected four hits in the loss with two of those coming off the bat of senior Taylor Price. Bullitt East left runners at second base three different times in the game.
“It was a good game and Loren pitched a great game,” Hoffman said over the weekend.
“Those two games opened the eyes of my girls that they could compete with the top teams in the state,” the coach added. “We needed that. “We saw the same pitcher who won the state last year. It gives us a lot of confidence going into this week (in the 24th District Tournament at North Bullitt).”
After those two tough games, Bullitt East bounced back in the nightcap and took out their frustration on Pike County Central as they won 15-0 in just three innings. The Lady Chargers scored two runs in the first and then one in the second before exploding for 12 runs in the third and final inning.
Morgan Raymer was the starting pitcher and the sophomore faced just 10 batters. There was one hit, but Raymer struck out seven and did not walk anyone.
Bullitt East finished with 13 hits in the romp including doubles by Rachel Simms, Kristen Price, Taylor Alvey and Lutes. Alvey collected two hits.
The Lady Chargers ended the regular season with a 23-9 record as they head into district play where they will try to make it three in a row at the top of the group.
“I don’t know about peaking, but we’re playing good softball,” Hoffman said. “We’re focused and know what is at hand.”
Bullitt East did get some bad news last week when sophomore Kayla Raymer was lost for the rest of the season with a case of mono.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win all our district games and we did that,” the coach said. “Now we want to win the district and advance from there.
“They know they can play with anybody,” Hoffman pointed out. “we just have to prove it. I’m excited about the weeks to come.”
Before the trip on Friday, Bullitt East picked up two more wins.
First, there was a tight game with North Oldham that wasn’t decided until Kristin Price ended the scoring with a home run that put the red and gold up 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth.
Lutes was the winning pitcher as she allowed only five hits. The senior walked one and struck out nine.
The Lady Chargers finished with eight hits. Kristen Price had the home run and Lutes had a double. Price finished with three hits while Nikki Hinkley had two hits.
It was Senior Night on Thursday and Bullitt East blasted Shelby County 11-0. Hoffman started all seven seniors in this game
Lutes allowed only one hit as she faced only one batter over the limit in five innings of work.
Bullitt East collected 12 hits in the win. Simms had a pair of home runs and Taya Rush also had a home run. Katlyn Scott added a double. Simms finished with three hits while Kayla Payne and Kristen Price each had two hits.