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HEBRON ESTATES – After winning 32 games a year ago and with seven returning starters, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers were expected to be a powerhouse this spring.
On Friday, the softball team at North Bullitt couldn’t argue that point after Bullitt East rolled to a 9-2 victory in the only meeting this spring between the two rivals. The Lady Chargers scored twice in the top of the first inning and never looked back in rolling to the program’s sixth straight win to open the season.
While Bullitt East did collect eight hits in the win, they were helped along by five North Bullitt errors. It might not have mattered as the Bullitt East pitching duo of Morgan Raymer and Loren Roby allowed just three hits and walked only one batter.
The setback dropped North Bullitt to 1-3 after the first ten days of the regular season.
Both teams have games this week before both head out for Florida for spring break games next week.
Bullitt East broke through in the first inning against North Bullitt starting pitcher Jessica Wayne, a sophomore who is seeing her first varsity action this spring.
Wayne got the first batter of the game to fly out, but then freshman Lindsey Renneisen singled and with two outs, Kelsey Gravens singled. Kayla Raymer drove in the first run with a single and Gravens’ courtesy runner, Hannah Dahl, came home on a throwing error.
North Bullitt did get a run back in the bottom of the first after Leeanna Hundley doubled to open the frame. After moving to third on Bre Sherrard’s ground-out, Hundley darted home on a passed ball.
Bullitt East would go on to add to the advantage as they scored three runs in the third inning, two in the fourth and two more in the sixth to put the contest out of reach. North Bullitt added a late run in the sixth inning.
Wayne got Bullitt East out in order in the second inning, but then ran into trouble with the top part of the line-up in the third inning. With an out, Renneisen walked and that was followed by back-to-back singles by Morgan Raymer and Gravens. Renneisen scored on the second single and then both runners crossed the plate when Taylor Roby doubled to the gap in right field.
In the fourth, the Lady Chargers expanded the lead when Emily Salyer singled and then moved up on Bri Hare’s sacrifice bunt. Morgan Raymer then drove home Salyer with a single. Gravens followed with a double to score another run, but the senior catcher was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
The final two Bullitt East runs came across in the fifth inning. Kayla Raymer walked and then Taylor Roby singled. After Jeri Bogard reached on an error to load the bases, Shelby Harris singled to plate one run and Roby scored when the ball got free in the infield trying to pick her off third base.
North Bullitt’s final run scored when Sherrard reached on an error. After a ground-out, Sherrard scored on Bri Johnson’s double.
Morgan Raymer was the winning pitcher as she worked four innings, allowing only two hits. The one run was unearned. Loren Roby came in and pitched the final three innings, allowing only one hit. The one run on her watch was unearned. Raymer had six strike-outs and Roby had four.
Wayne took the loss for the Lady Eagles as she worked into the third inning.
“We were moving in the right direction until the Bullitt East game,” North Bullitt head coach Mike Nally said. “We fell apart defensively in that game. Other than that we played some good softball and were moving in the right direction.”
Nally says he is trying to change the culture in the Lady Eagle program and that starts with treating every game as an important game. He felt his team may have been too focused on playing Bullitt East on Friday.
“For whatever reason, Bullitt East has had our number over the years,” the second-year coach said. “It’s the environment that we’re trying to change. Right now it’s a work in progress.”
BE Keeps Winning
Earlier in the week the Lady Chargers added two more wins to their total as they defeated Male 5-1 and Shelby County 4-0.
Against Male, a team that started the season ranked among the top-10 teams in the state, Morgan Raymer had another strong outing as the senior allowed only four hits with no walks and four strike-outs. The lone Male run, in the top of the first inning, was unearned.
On offense, Bullitt East collected six hits as they scored a run in the bottom of the first and then added two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth.
Four of the six hits by the Lady Chargers went for extra bases as Kayla Raymer, Morgan Raymer, Gravens and Bogard each had a double. Gravens was two-for-two with a walk.
Male pitcher Jessica Wireman did record nine strike-outs but four of the five Lady Charger runs were earned.
Against Shelby County, Morgan Raymer again went the distance as she allowed only four hits in seven innings. The senior did not give up a walk and struck out ten Lady Rocket batters.
Raymer had to have a good game as Bullitt East did not score until posting a single run in the fifth inning and the blowing the game open with three runs in the sixth.
Morgan Raymer helped her own cause with two doubles as she drove home two of the runs. Bogard also had a double as the Lady Chargers collected six hits.
NB Still Learning
Nally says his team is still “a work in progress”, but they did get a win last Monday when they rallied to beat Fairdale 7-6.
The winning run scored in the top of the seventh inning when senior Carly Benz did it on her own. Benz singled, her second hit of the day, and then stole second. A passed ball followed and Benz raced home when the throw to third was off line.
Elise Mills pitched a complete game for the Lady Eagles, allowing six hits and four earned runs.
North Bullitt had five hits with two of those by Benz. Both Shelby Crenshaw and Benz had doubles.
BC Up and Down
No softball team has ever had its season defined during the first week of the season and that is something that first-year Bullitt Central head coach Mike Phillips keeps telling himself as his Lady Cougars had an up and down start to the season.
The record for the maroon and gray after a tournament at Meade County this past weekend was 2-3 and all five of those games were decided by at least six runs, one way or the other.
The campaign started on a down note as the Lady Cougars failed to get a hit in an 11-0 loss at Central Hardin last Monday. Things got better two days later as Phillips’ team went into Jefferson County and beat Fern Creek 9-3.
Bullitt Central had plenty of hits in this game, collecting 11 hits including two each from Hailey Szpila, Haley Dukes and Belle Leonard. Dukes had a double as did Sarah Noble and Kim Berthiaume.
On the mound, Szpila went the distance despite giving up 15 hits, but only three of the hits went for extra bases and she only walked one batter.
On Friday, the Lady Cougars headed to Meade County for the TSOP Tournament. That event started with a ‘pool’ play game against LaRue County, a game that Bullitt Central lost 11-0. All 11 of the runs were earned as Szpila took the loss in a four-inning game.
Bullitt Central did manage five hits, but all of the hits were singles. Sarah Noble did have two stolen bases.
The Lady Cougars bounced right back later that day and beat Jeffersontown by a 12-1 count. Bullitt Central had plenty of offense in this game as they had 16 hits as Noble, Mckenzie Pruitt and Szpila each had three hits. Brooklyn Benefield and Dukes finished with two hits each. Szpila had a double and a triple while both of the hits by Dukes went for doubles. Bullitt Central had seven stolen bases in the game.
Leonard did the pitching in this game and allowed only three hits. The sophomore struck out three and walked just one.
After the ‘pool’ play games, Bullitt Central was paired with Sixth Region rival Pleasure Ridge Park in the bracket portion of the tournament. Phillips felt that his team read the name on the uniform and conceded a loss to one of the area’s strongest teams, losing 11-0.
“The PRP game was the most disappointing,” Phillips said on Monday. “They seemed to show up and we saw the red uniforms and let that get to us. It was 8-0 after the first inning. After that, we held our own.”
The coach feels that a few minor improvements and the team can be a lot better.
“I’m not frustrated and I told the girls that,” the coach said. “I feel good where we are. We just need to eliminate one or two errors in each game.
“We have four spots with girls there who have played varsity softball before,” Phillips added of his outfield spots and at third base. “They haven’t had a chance to field a lot of balls. They will get their confidence when they see more balls.”