Mercy wins, but East is narrowing the difference

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By Mike Farner

  MOUNT WASHINGTON – A 3-2 loss to Mercy opened the week, but the Bullitt East Lady Chargers bounced back to win three straight games heading into a long weekend caused by the Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

The loss to Mercy dropped Bullitt East to the number three seed for the upcoming 24th District Tournament that will be played in Mount Washington the week of May 20. Bullitt East will play in one semi-final against Fern Creek, a team that defeated them 4-3 in eight innings two weeks ago.

Monday’s meeting against Mercy, the defending state champions, was the first between the two schools since last year’s Kentucky State Tournament when Mercy, then in the Seventh Region, blitzed Bullitt East 16-1. Mercy has since been moved to the Sixth Region and into the same district as the Lady Chargers.

This time, the game was a lot closer. Mercy scored on single runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings before Bullitt East scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning. A potential game-tying runner was thrown out at the plate.

“It was kind of a base running error that ended the game,” Bullitt East head coach Ricky Hoffman said. “But we learned from it. The runner felt that when she ran into the third baseman that she could go on and be given home.

“Overall, it was a good game,” the coach added.

Bullitt East learned some things from the meeting last year with Mercy, but they still haven’t figured out how to get sophomore Jordan Vorbrink out. She hit a home run in the first inning and had two hits in the game while driving in two of the three runs. Vorbrink, who played for three seasons at North Bullitt before transferring to Mercy before her freshman season, has committed to the University of Louisville.

Morgan Raymer worked a complete game for Bullitt East as the junior allowed ten hits. Two of the runs were earned as she struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Mercy starting pitcher Haley Twyman allowed just two hits over six innings, but when she was replaced by L. Thomas, Bullitt East collected three of their five hits for the game in that inning.

In fact, Bullitt East’s Katlynn Scott had the only two hits for the Lady Chargers until the seventh inning. In that final at-bat, Scott had another hit and Emily Salyer added a double but the team came up just short.

Bullitt East could meet Mercy twice more in the month of May.

“We think we can play with them,” Hoffman said.

It took just 24-hours for Bullitt East to get back in winning form as the red and gold went to Taylorsville on Tuesday and bombed Spencer County 13-0 in a game stopped after five innings.

In the circle, Bullitt East got a combined no-hitter from Raymer and Loren Roby. Spencer County struck out 11 times, but did get three walks and there was one Bullitt East error.

The only home runs for the week for Bullitt East came off the bat of eighth-grader Lindsey Renneisen including one in this game. In addition, Shelby Harris had seven total bases as she had a triple and a pair of doubles. The red and gold also got doubles from Nikki Hinkley, Salyer and Bri Hare.

The week ended with a pair of close games for Bullitt East that did go into the win column

First, the Lady Chargers scored four runs in the first inning and then beat Martha Layne Collins 5-2 behind the pitching of Raymer who recorded 13 strike-outs in the victory.

Raymer finished by allowing only four hits and she walked just one batter with one earned run in a complete game win.

The Bullitt East offense had only six hits with both Renneisen and Harris collecting two hits each. Renneisen had a second straight day with a home run. Two of the runs were driven in by Kelsey Gravens despite the fact that she did not have a hit. Gravens did have a sacrifice fly.

On Thursday, Bullitt East went into the long weekend with a 3-2 win over Christian Academy. The Lady Chargers scored three runs over the first two innings and then let Raymer do the rest.

The junior pitcher worked another complete game, allowing five hits with only one of the runs being earned. Raymer struck out eight and walked just one.

Bullitt East collected nine hits in the win with Raymer, Gravens and Harris each having two hits. Hare added to the offense with a double.

Hoffman thought his team had a good week, but he would like to see the team continue to be aggressive at the plate even when they score early as they did in the two close games late in the week.

“In both of those games we scored early, but not late,” Hoffman pointed out. “That’s one thing that we have to work on.”

Bullitt East will be heading to Boyle County on Friday to compete in a tournament. The Lady Chargers will open play on Friday against Scott County, the other team they played in last year’s state tournament. The red and gold also lost to the Cardinals 9-3.