Lady Chargers pull away late to beat Central

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – Three days before the two programs would host the Bullitt County Challenge Softball Tournament, Bullitt East and Bullitt Central met for the only regular season meeting between the two rivals on Tuesday.

With six runs over the first two innings, Bullitt East built a lead they would never relinquish as they rolled to a 10-2 victory.

Bullitt East, the defending Sixth Region champions and the state’s 12th-ranked team this season, got another strong pitching performance from junior Morgan Raymer as she allowed only three hits and walked just two. The only pitch that got away from her came in the fourth inning when her opposite number, Bullitt Central pitcher Hailey Szpila, blasted a two-run home run that also plated Sarah Noble. Szpila also had a double in the game.

The rest of the offense belonged to the Lady Chargers as they pounded out 16 hits including three hits each off the bats of Kelsey Gravens and Lindsey Renneisen. Two of the hits by Renneisen were doubles. Taylor Alvey added a home run to the total while Nikki Hinkley had a triple and Erin Salyer a double.

“We played well that night,” Bullitt East head coach Ricky Hoffman said later. “Bullitt Central has a pretty good team and Szpila is a pretty good pitcher and she hit that home run.”

This was the first meeting ever between the two programs in which it was a not a district game. Bullitt Central is in the 23rd District this season while Bullitt East is in the 24th District.

“The intensity was there,” Hoffman said. “They are still our county rivals. Plus it is a regional game.”

“We didn’t play well defensively,” Bullitt Central head coach Buddy Gallemore said. “When the defense is not making plays behind you, you try to do it yourself and you over pitch and you get into trouble.

“Bullitt East puts pressure on you with their hitting,” the coach added. “At that point we didn’t handle it very well.”

Bullitt Central did bounce back a day later and blasted Western 15-0. The Lady Cougars only batted twice, scoring seven times in the first and eight more times in the second. The game was stopped after Western batted in the top of the third.

Belle Leonard did the pitching in this game and did not allow a hit. The sophomore walked two while striking out six.

Bullitt Central had only two hits in the win as Western gave up a lot of walks. Leonard did have two hits with a double while Makayla Carli had two hits.