HEBRON ESTATES - The North Bullitt Lady Eagles, a team without a senior, has been learning on the fly this season.
The green and gold started the season with eight straight losses, but over the past three weeks, the young team has avoided enough rain drops to win three games and give veteran head coach Eric Lambert confidence that the team is headed in the right direction.
The biggest of the wins came back on April 14 when the Lady Eagles had a break-out performance in smashing 24th District rival Southern 15-6. That was the first district game of the season for North Bullitt before heading into a game at Bullitt Central last Thursday.
North Bullitt collected 17 hits and picked some much needed confidence.
“We got some fire in our belly to win that first game,” Lambert said. “We’ve been talking about having a killer instinct and coming out and pounding somebody.”
Southern had a 3-2 lead before North Bullitt scored five runs in the fifth inning and it snowballed from that point.
North Bullitt had doubles from sophomore Caitlin Crowder and freshman Carly Benz. Eighth-grader Breanna Sherrard was on base four times and scored four runs. Sherrard also drove in three runs with a pair of singles.
Another eighth-grader, Shelby Crenshaw, got the win in the circle as she pitched a complete game. Crenshaw allowed on five hits and all six of the runs were earned as the North Bullitt defense did not make an error.
North Bullitt snapped that eight game streak at the beginning of the season with a 5-4 victory over Hart County over spring break.
At the end of spring break, the Lady Eagles traveled into northern Kentucky take part in the Kenton County Classic. The green and gold picked up a win in that event when they smoked Scott High 19-2. The Lady Eagles were also up against Dixie Heights in the tournament before bad weather halted the game before it became official.
In the two weeks since spring break, North Bullitt has been battling the weather just like everyone else. The team did manage to get in a game against Christian Academy and lost 10-2 and then there was a 13-3 loss to defending Sixth Region champion Pleasure Ridge Park 13-3 when the Lady Panthers busted open a 3-1 game with nine runs in the fourth frame.
North Bullitt did have six errors in the loss to PRP and gave up back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning.
“No matter who you are playing you can’t win with six errors,” Lambert noted. “You certainly can’t do that against the three-time defending regional champions.”
The last game for a week due to bad weather was a 4-3 setback on the road at Henry County. That was a game that Lambert felt his team should have won.
The Lady Eagles have also had some trouble this season producing the timely hits and that was a case in the loss to Henry County. North Bullitt had an early 2-0 lead and then in the seventh inning scored a run to get close, but left runners stranded on second and third.
“We would have scored more,” Lambert said of a game in which his team had eight hits. “We’re having trouble getting that key hit.”
Of the eight hits, North Bullitt got a pair of doubles from junior Darian Davenport and eighth-grader Jordan Vorbrink had a double and drove home two of the runs.
“We out hit them and out played them,” Lambert lamented. “It seemed like we were on the verge of something. We had a hard time getting that one hit. We played good defense with no errors.”
Lambert realizes that he has a young team, and while some of the foes have physically beaten the Lady Eagles at times, he would be happier if the record was closer to .500 than at 3-13.
“To an extent, yes, we are young,” the coach said. “But I don’t want to use that as an excuse. These kids have played together since they were in the sixth or seventh grade. The lack of experience plays a part, but we have given some games away.
“We’ve had some errors and maybe that is part of the youth on the team,” Lambert continued. “I’ve seen these kids make plays. I don’t want to be making excuses.”
Because of all the rain over the past two weeks, a lot of teams are struggling to get in the required district games to seed the post-season tournaments. North Bullitt has the win over Southern and played Bullitt Central last Thursday. The Lady Eagles are not scheduled to play Bullitt East until next Monday in Mount Washington.
That leaves a game with Fairdale that has to be played. It has now been set for Monday, May 16. The KHSAA has extended the deadline for playing required seeding games until May 18 because of all the bad weather across the state.