May 8th, 2013

Holy Cross can't hold late lead

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Holy Cross can't hold late lead
Jessica Adell delivers a pitch to the Cougars' Bayley Brutscher / photo by Conor Revell

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the players on Holy Cross’ No. 9-ranked softball team knew they would have their hands full with No. 6 Ballard. What the Cougars didn’t expect, though, was to be playing without head coach Krystle Johnson.

Johnson had every intention of coaching against the Bruins but got hit in the head with a ball during batting practice and went to a hospital for precautionary measures. She is expected to be fine.

That left the Cougars with extra motivation to beat a top-10 team for their coach, and they had the game won. Holy Cross led by two runs with two out in the top of the seventh inning, and the Bruins’ final batter was down to her last strike. But the lead vanished as Ballard erupted for five runs to win 6-3.

“This team has done this for the last four weeks,” Ballard head coach Allan Jones said. “This is the youngest team I’ve ever had. They’re growing up, though. They’ve been playing really good ball the past four weeks. We never quit; the last three weeks we’ve never given up. We’ve done this over and over again. And tonight we did it against a really good Holy Cross team.”   

Madison Ray struck out Ballard’s Alexis Smith to start the seventh, but Breon Thomas and Jessica Adell got the ball rolling with two straight singles. Ray then struck out Shelby Kelly, leaving the Bruins hanging by a thread with runners on first and second with two outs.

Lex Hull came to the plate and had two strikes before blasting a double into the gap. Thomas and Adell scored to make it 3-3.

“I thought we played a great game today,” Holy Cross assistant coach Kevin Johnson said. “We played good defense, at the end we got a little tired. Madison got tired at the end. We had many opportunities to score when we had runners on base; we just came up short at the plate. They came up and hit at the right time. We had two outs and two strikes on (Hull) and then she hit it in the gap … That’s just way the game goes sometimes. Hits here, hits there.”

Ballard (24-7) grabbed its first lead since the fourth inning when Bailey Walker drove in Hull to make it 4-3. The Bruins scored two more runs before Ray got out of the jam. But it was too late as Adell got the Cougars (24-5) to hit three consecutive groundouts to win the game. 

Adell, a University of Tennessee commit, is known for her speed and all-around play. She pitched a complete-game six-hitter and went 4 for 4, stole two bases and scored two runs.

“She’s a great girl, the girl has more speed than I have ever seen,” Johnson said. “She’s a phenomenal player. I know that when she isn’t pitching, she’s in center field. You can’t take nothing away from her. Man, it’s hard to get her out. In that game, we couldn’t. We just couldn’t. She laid down bunts to the shortstop and we couldn’t get her out.”

Hull went 2 for 2, drove in two runs and reached base all four times she came to the plate.

“My catcher (Hull) is one of the best hitters in the state,” Jones said. “She has been struggling a little bit, but tonight she knew what she needed to do, and she’s only sophomore. And she had that huge hit. Tying that game up was huge.”

Ballard took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Adell stretched a single into a double and came home two batters later on Hull’s single.  

Holy Cross scored all of its runs in the fourth. Christa Brutscher, Bayley Brutscher and Shelby Atzinger started the rally with singles. Christa Brutscher  scored on Atzinger’s single. Josie Hockman’s two-out single chased home Bayley Brutscher and Atzinger to make it 3-1.

“It was a rise ball and she had thrown it once before on the first pitch,” Hockman said. “This time I was ready for it and I hit it right up the middle by placing my bat on top of the ball.”

Ray pitched a complete game for Holy Cross and gave up 11 hits, walked one, plunked one and struck out six.


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