May 28th, 2018

Rockets top Toppers, move to semis

Block_screenshot 2018-10-06 at 2

Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Rockets top Toppers, move to semis
Assumption's Sydney Young watches a pitch goes / photo by Conor Revell

Assumption softball star Jordan Ridge knows that one loss signals the end of her high school playing days.

Ridge isn’t quite ready for college yet as she drove in five runs and helped the visiting 21st-ranked Rockets cruise past Presentation 9-1 in the first-round of the Seventh Region Tournament at St. Rita Monday.

“The benefit of playing a team from two weeks ago is that game is still fresh in your mind,” Assumption head coach Lisa Pinkston said. “We had a game plan two weeks ago and we stuck with that same game plan.”

The Western Kentucky signee went 3 for 4 and had a three-run double that cleared the bases and two RBI singles.

“I came out and had in the back of my mind that if we lose, I’m done with Assumption, and I don’t get to play for them again,” Ridge said. “I just have to remember to go out and play hard because you never know when it’s going to end and I don’t want it to end.”

Assumption (21-12) scored three runs in the second-inning with two outs, one run in the third and fourth innings, and four runs in the fifth inning.

“Assumption came out and beat us 14-0 a few weeks ago, we were complacent that night,” Pres head coach Matt Meagher said. “Today, we adjusted some things and played much better. But, don’t get me wrong, they’re a tremendous hard hitting team, they put it in play, and they’re tough. Assumption has been doing that all-year.”

The Toppers (14-15) got their lone run when the Rockets mishandled a grounder from Madeline Meagher.

Olivia Pastin had two RBI singles, Ashton Dowdy had an RBI double, and Maddie Hester had an RBI groundout along with Ridge’s five RBIs to drive in runs for Assumption.

“Senior year is a tough year,” Pinkston said of Ridge. “You’re in a transition with everything – graduation and I think the thing for Jordan – we have been working with her all week was to try and live in the moment and take it all in. Trust all the work that you have put in. I think Jordan has settled a bit and has calmed down.”

The Rockets rang up Presentation senior pitchers Nicole Kuchma and Madeline Meagher for 16 hits.

“With their first pitches, she was throwing mainly inside,” Ridge said. “We weren’t really prepared for that because we thought they were going to throw a lot of outside pitches. The first pitches she’d go in and I adjusted and then I was prepared for the outside pitches my later at-bats.”

Ridge led the way with three hits, Braxton Downs, Pastin, Maranda Thomas, and Sydney Young had two hits apiece, and Kaitlynn Bailey, Amelia Cassin, Dowdy, Maddie Hester, and Ellen Kiefer each had one hit.

Olivia Casey started in the circle for Assumption and allowed two hits in four innings and didn’t walk one. Caroline Weickel pitched the final three innings and gave up one run, three hits, and walked one.

“I threw half of the last game when I played them” Casey said. “I came out with the same mindset today – working ahead in the count – and locating my spots. I thought I did that well.”

Kuchma finished her days as a Topper going 3 for 4 and appeared to have a fourth hit that would have scored two runs, but the umpires ruled it foul, and she struck out swinging on the next pitch.

“I was just waiting for my pitches,” Kuchma said. “Coach tells us all-the-time to wait for your pitch. Whenever I get ahead in the count 2-0, I’m always looking to hit.”

Lili Cortese and Rainey Hettinger also had one hit apiece for Pres.

“The ball didn’t bounce our way,” Matt Meagher said. “Would we have won the game if it had bounced our way with that hit, I don’t know, probably not. We had just gotten rung up by Alexis Cammack who had a great at-bat. I thought that ball was in the dirt and it was a strike-three looking. Then Nicole comes up and hit the ball, I clearly saw it hit the line, and I told the girls how I didn’t act right and that we have to behave ourselves in the heat of the game.”

Assumption advances to the Seventh Region semifinals and will play Eastern, who beat Atherton 9-7, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at U of L’s Ulmer Stadium.

The Lady Eagles beat the Rockets 4-3 back on April 2nd in Florida.

The Toppers season comes to a close which included the 25th District title, their first in 13 years, and will say goodbye to seniors Lili Cortese, Kayla Harp, Rainey Hettinger, Courtney Jackson, Nicole Kuchma, and Madeline Meagher.

“That’s a tough question,” an emotional Matt Meagher said when asked about his seniors. “We just got done talking about that. That’s tough. I’ve been coaching Madeline all her life. The seniors, six of them, they had great careers. How do you replace them? I’m not sure, but we will, and the program will rebuild. It’s an emotional time. It’s okay to be emotional because we care, if we weren’t, we wouldn’t care, and we do care.”

Kuchma added to her coach’s list.

“I’m going to miss all the memories I have made,” Kuchma said. “I’m going to miss it a lot next year, but I know they’re going to do well, and I’ll be in the stands cheering them on.”

Other Seventh Region scores

Male 14, Sacred Heart 0 (five innings)

Ballard 12, Manual 2 (six innings)

Seventh Region semifinals at U of L (Wednesday)

Ballard vs. Male, 5:30 p.m.

Assumption vs. Eastern, 7:30 p.m.

Sixth Region scores

Butler 11, Pleasure Ridge Park 5

Jeffersontown 9, North Bullitt 8 (eight innings)

Holy Cross 17, Southern 0 (three innings)

Mercy 20, Iroquois 2 (three innings)

Sixth Region semifinals at U of L (Tuesday)

Butler vs. Jeffersontown, 5:30 p.m.

Holy Cross vs. Mercy, 7:30 p.m.  


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