May 31st, 2018

Rockets advance to Seventh Region title game

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Rockets advance to Seventh Region title game
Assumption's Maggie Metzger waits for a pitch / photo by Conor Revell

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Assumption’s 21st-ranked softball team is one win away from reaching its season-long goal – finishing the year at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro.

The Rockets crushed the ball early and often and cruised past Eastern 12 -3 in a Seventh Region semifinal game at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium Wednesday night.  

Assumption (22-12) avenged an early April 4-3 eight-inning loss suffered to the Lady Eagles in Florida during Spring Break.

“That game was early in the season,” Pinkston said. “I think our pitcher Olivia Casey has gotten better and our team as a whole continues to improve as the season goes on. Spring Break is early in the season. We continue to get better and that’s the difference in this game.”

Maggie Metzger (1 for 3, BB), Jordan Ridge (2 for 2, BB), Maranda Thomas (4 for 4, four RBIs), Braxton Downs (2 for 3, three RBIs), Sydney Young (2 for 4, one RBI), and Maddie Hester (1 for 3) had hits for the Rockets.

“I was just trying to focus and work on my back hips,” Thomas said. “I wanted my hips to go to the ball and know where to hit the ball. Whenever there were runners on, I wanted to place the ball where it is supposed to be placed.”

Olivia Pastin (0 for 2, one RBI), and Ashton Dowdy (0 for 3, BB, one RBI) didn’t have a hit, but each drove in a run.

“It was huge having the top of our order have big days,” Pinkston said. “There’s a lot of power in three of those spots. You get runners on base and we’re going to score most of the time. That set us up quite well.”

Assumption scored two runs in the first and third innings and four in the fifth to put Eastern (18-16) in an 8-0 hole.

“Typically on almost all of their first pitches they were throwing inside,” Downs said. “After that they would go out and then go back in and mix it up. If I got early in the count – the hit that I had to left field was an inside pitch – and the sacrifice fly was primarily an outside pitches.”

The Lady Eagles Kelsey Dougherty had a 2-run double and Brittany Ernst had a run-scoring single to cut the Rocket lead to 8-3 in the sixth.

But, the Rockets scored four in the bottom of the sixth to put the nail in the coffin.

“We had a game plan and we stuck with it,” Pinkston said. “Our plan was to come out, attack and attack early, and get on the scoreboard early. Attack early in the count and that was our approach. Tonight, we executed and hit the ball timely.”

Olivia Casey, started in the circle for Assumption, and continues to get better and better.

“I was working a lot of my off-speed and I knew when I had two strikes that I needed to get it off,” Casey said. “I tried to make them and they were chasing often tonight.”

The freshman tossed a complete game and only allowed three runs, 11 hits, struck out six, and didn’t issue a free-pass.

“The kid is a little fighter,” Pinkston said. “It’s like she’s a little boxer in the ring. She really is. She gets in there – I have never seen a more competitive or composed kid than that freshman in that circle. Her mental toughness – that’s what sets her up – it’s her mental ability to shut kids down. I love having that kid in the circle.”

Mackenzie Heareth started in the circle for Eastern and gave up nine runs and nine hits in 6 and 2/3 innings. Ernst pitched 1/3 of an inning was roughed up for three runs, three hits, walked three, and plunked one.

The Rockets advance to Thursday’s Seventh Region championship game and will play Ballard at 4:30 p.m. at U of L’s Ulmer Stadium.  

“We’ve had a good run,” Thomas said. “It all comes down to who wants it more. We just have to play with our hearts and play good.”

Ballard ended Male’s five-year reign as regional champs with a 6-4 victory in the first semifinal game and beat Assumption 13-11 earlier this month. 


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