No. 1 gets the best of BE softball

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – It was a mixed bag of results for the Bullitt East Lady Chargers last week as the red and gold went 3-2 against varying levels of competition.

The game that stood out though was a 4-3 loss to Fern Creek in eight innings last Tuesday. The setback was the first district loss for Bullitt East this spring and with a game against Mercy, the state’s third-ranked team still to be contested (on Monday of this week), Bullitt East could drop as low as third in the district seeding process. Still, either second or third, they will get a rematch with Fern Creek in the 24th District semi-finals at Bullitt East the week of May 20.

“Obviously, we weren’t happy that we lost,” Bullitt East head coach Ricky Hoffman said over the weekend. “It was one of those games. We made the mistakes and we couldn’t rebound. We had base running mistakes and couldn’t get the big hit.

“It was one of those games were we didn’t play well enough to win,” the coach added. “They played well enough to get the win.”

Fern Creek left the game with a 7-14 record overall.

Bullitt East rallied in that game with two runs in the top of the seventh inning to force the extra frame. Fern Creek then won it in the bottom of the eighth when a runner on third came home when Bullitt East threw to first and could not get the ball back to home quick enough to get the runner.

The main problem for the Lady Chargers came at the plate where they could manage just three hits. Two of those hits were from catcher Kelsey Gravens with the other coming from Katelyn Scott. Scott was on base three times as she also walked twice. Fern Creek pitching did walk seven batters including Lindsey Renneisen three times.

Loren Roby got the start in the circle for Bullitt East in this game and she worked all eight innings. The sophomore gave up just seven hits and she struck out seven, but three of the four runs were earned.

The loss to Fern Creek seemed to spark Bullitt East as they played well in the next three games.

In fact, in the next game out, the Lady Chargers just crushed district rival Whitefield Academy 16-1. The game was called in the bottom of the third inning when the threshold reached 15 runs.

Bullitt East had 14 hits in the win including home runs by Gravens and Emily Salyer. Morgan Raymer added a pair of doubles and twin sister Kayla Raymer had one doubles.

Morgan Raymer was the winning pitcher as she allowed just one hit in three innings.

Raymer was even stronger in the circle on Friday as the junior allowed just one hit in a 3-0 victory at Shelby County. Raymer did not walk a batter while striking out 11.

Bullitt East managed eight hits, all of which were singles. Both Morgan Raymer and Renneisen had two hits.

On Saturday, in cold and damp conditions, Bullitt East headed to the new softball field at Assumption High School for a round-robin event that also included Greenwood, the state’s top-ranked team.

In the first game, Bullitt East took on the host team and they picked up a 3-0 win over the Lady Rockets.

Salyer had a big game for the Lady Chargers as she had two hits including a home run as she drove home two of the runs in the game. Scott also had two hits with a home run.

Raymer worked a complete game in the circle, allowing only four hits while not walking a batter. She did strikeout four.

The three games winning streak came to a quick end in the second game on Saturday when the Lady Chargers could not handle top-ranked Greenwood. The Lady Gators left Assumption with a 23-0 record and have allowed only 11 runs in those games.

Bullitt East was short-handed on Saturday as regular starters Nikki Hinkley, Taylor Alvey and Shelby Harris were out for a variety of reasons. Hoffman expects all three back for the games this week.

The change in personal caught up with the Lady Chargers in this game as they committed four errors including a few key mistakes in big scoring innings for the Lady Gators.

“Greenwood is a good team,” Hoffman said. “I don’t know if we could have beaten them with everyone, but we gave them quite a few runs with passed balls and dropped balls in the outfield.

“The final score doesn’t reflect how good we can be,” Hoffman said. “They deserve to be number one.”

Raymer was the starting pitcher for the Lady Chargers but the junior only worked into the fourth inning. Greenwood scored nine runs off Raymer, but only three were earned. Roby then pitched to get the last four outs of the game.

The only run for Bullitt East came in the fourth inning when Raymer smacked a home run over the left field fence. Bullitt East had just three hits and one walk.

Bullitt East has four games this week but will only play through Thursday because of Oaks and Derby festivities.