May 23rd, 2018

Rockets fall to Male in the 26th District final

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Rockets fall to Male in the 26th District final
Assumption's Maddie Hester runs after hitting the ball / photo by Conor Revell

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Perhaps it’s the big purple and gold M that scared Assumption’s 23rd-ranked softball team, either way, when you fall behind Josh Bloomer’s third-ranked Male squad, it can nearly be impossible to come back.

The Lady Bulldogs scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back cruising to an 8-1 victory over the Rockets in the 26th District championship game Wednesday at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium.

“I’m not happy, I’m never happy losing,” Assumption head coach Lisa Pinkston said. “One of our goals going into the game was to eliminate the big inning. It just happened that the big inning happened in the first inning which set the tone for the rest of the game. But, after that we were able to challenge their offense a bit. I was disappointed in our offense. We were too passive and watching balls that were strikes go by.”

Four of those five Male (26-5) runs came off of two Assumption (20-12) errors.

“In the first inning I think some of us were scared,” Assumption catcher Sydney Young said. “I don’t know why, but we have prepared all-week for this game. We knew we had it, but we didn’t come ready, and it didn’t go our way.”

Morgan Zuege and Madison McCoy led off with back-to-back singles. Jaelyn Sanders hit a grounder to second-base, but the Rockets mishandled it, and Zuege and McCoy both scored.

Jasmine Miller then laid a bunt single and the ever-so powerful Jenna Howell walked to load the bases with nobody out.

“It’s always good to get some runs to make life easier for your pitcher,” Male head coach Josh Bloomer said. “I don’t know how much we contributed to that. But, sometimes errors are the result of the moment and different things. However, you never can get runs back, so it’s always nice to be able to put up a five-spot. If we score five runs, we always feel that we have a good shot to win and be able to finish the game out with our pitching.”

Lily Davis hit a sacrifice fly to score a run. Megan Lenhart followed with a routine fly ball to the outfield, but the Rockets miscommunicated allowing two more runs to score and that made it 5-0 in the first.

“Olivia Casey did her job, but our defense didn’t do their job,” Pinkston said. “It comes down to the basics with our defense and making plays and their ability to get the job done. I’ve talked about that all-season long. They didn’t make the routine plays.”

The Rockets scored their lone run in the fifth. The Bulldogs mishandled a grounder from Kaitlynn Bailey, Maddie Hester moved her over to third with, and she scored when Maggie Metzger’s bunt was bobbled.

Male added two more runs in the bottom of the inning on Sanders RBI double and Miller’s sacrifice fly and scored its final run in the sixth on Sam Walker run-scoring base hit.

Sanders started in the circle for the Lady Bulldogs and allowed one hit, struck out one, and walked three in three innings. Kelsie Houchens tossed the final four innings and gave up one run; none earned, no hits, walked none, and struck out three.

“I think my pitchers are pretty good,” Bloomer said. “Jay had good velocity today. She was able to establish her power early on and then she was able to bring the changeup in to keep them off balance. Kelsie did what she does. She has a really tight spin and I think sometimes people don’t think her velocity is very good, but it’s at a good clip.”

Olivia Casey threw a complete game for the Rockets and allowed eight runs; four earned, nine hits, struck out one, and walked one.

“My curve was working,” Casey said. “I was getting ahead with my off-speed pitch. I was getting ahead in the count and throwing off the plate.”

Pinkston was proud of her freshman.

“She’s a freshman, but it’s late in the season,” Pinkston said. “Our job is to see our team improve throughout the season. Olivia is practically a sophomore now, she has learned a lot, and has gotten better. She did a good job with the game plan.”

Both teams advance to next week’s Seventh Region Tournament and will play a first-round game at 11 a.m. Monday. Male will host a district runner-up while Assumption will travel to a district champion.

“I wasn’t pleased with our approach today,” Bloomer said. “I thought we kind of went through the motions a little bit. I don’t really know what it was. Our energy level wasn’t where it has and should be. I’m not pleased with the amount of energy we played with and I hope we can change that next week or we’re going to be on other end that none of us want to be on.”


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