August 7th, 2017

Year in review: Softball

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer


Year in review: Softball
The Jaguars with the Sixth Region title trophy / photo by Conor Revell

The Louisville Catholic Sports Network chronicles the 2016-17 sports year in review. We will bring you every sport, every season, and every team’s season ending results in a capsule until we're finished. Today, we look back at this past softball season. This is the last sport we will review from last school year.

Assumption (12-20) - The Rockets were young for a second straight season. With only one senior (Sarah Metzger) and only one junior (Jordan Ridge) who saw a lot of playing time, there were growing pains at time for the young squad.

“To my little sister, I want her to keep playing and continue to believe in herself,” Sarah Metzger said. “I don’t care what anyone is telling her. I think she’s amazing. As for everyone, I think they have the potential to be amazing. All of them could play college. If they want to achieve that then they should strive for that goal.”

But then there were other times where the Rockets showed flashes of greatness. Assumption only lost to Ballard, a team ranked in the top five for most of the season by one run in the regular season, and by three runs in the Seventh Region semifinals where there season came to an end.

Braxton Downs proved to be one of the best hitters in the city and maybe even state as she hit over .400 for the season and was feared by opposing coaches. Ballard head coach Alan Jones even went so far to walk her intentionally three times in one game.

Perhaps the downfall of the Rockets was the lack of pitching experience. Their main pitcher, Ashton Dowdy hadn’t pitched in four years up until this year.

“Sarah, I’m going to miss her,” Pinkston said. “As a coach you’re going to try and motivate your players and guide them along. With a player like Sarah, you want her in your corner. Sarah has the best attitude, motivation, and enthusiasm is so contagious. Her leadership was great and everybody looked up to her.”

With a hitter and an experienced pitcher, Assumption could have been right there with Male, Manual, and Ballard at the end of the season competing for a Seventh Region championship.

Holy Cross (24-13) - For the Cougars, it was a season of disappointment, but also a season of glory. The Cougars won their third straight All “A” Classic Statewide title earlier in the spring.

Kameron Bowling was named MVP for her magnificent pitching performance as Holy Cross outscored their opponents 29-0 to win their third straight All “A” Statewide Championship Saturday at Jack C. Fisher Park.

“I don’t think our pitching and defense couldn’t have been any better,” Holy Cross head coach Tony Young said. “Our pitching and defense made this tournament look easy to win. It’s not an easy tournament to win. We had dominant pitching from all four of our pitchers and we didn’t give up a single run.”

Later in the year, it wasn’t so joyful for the Holy Cross softball program as they were stunned in the 21st District championship game and then lost in the first round of the Sixth Region Tournament.

“We didn’t respond well from losing to PRP,” Holy Cross head coach Tony Young said. “We didn’t hit again. It has been the same thing that has let us down all year long. We’ve got the best pitcher (Kameron Bowling) in the city and there were too many games where we didn’t hit. We lose because we don’t hit.”

But don’t fear, Holy Cross will be one of the top teams in the Sixth Region in 2018 as they only lose Kameron Bowling, Ally Klein, and Jennifer Peffley.

Mercy (30-12) - We aren’t dead, that’s all the Jaguars needed  to say. A year ago people including myself thought the Mercy softball program glory days were in the past.

But little did the softball world know that Mercy softball would make a comeback - not only at a local level but at a statewide level too.

In 2016 Mercy lost to Fern Creek in the 24th District semifinals and didn’t have a chance to win a fifth straight Sixth Region title.

Well, junior ace Lexi Ray and seniors Melissa Collins, Abby Wilder, and Jordyn Sanders made sure that didn’t happen again.

Predicted to finish seventh in the Sixth Region, the Jaguars went onto win the 24th District title and then won the Sixth Region Tournament title the following week.

“I believe we were picked to finish seventh in the Sixth Region before the season started,” Mercy head coach Greg Meiners said. “I told my kids that this is a game of inches and those rankings mean nothing when you have a really good pitcher in Lexi Ray and a good catcher in Abby Wilder. We got hitting and pitching tonight. It got a little tense at the end. But to me we won because this team cares and loves each other.” 

In the first round of the state tournament, Mercy stunned No. 2 Woodford County 7-2 to put themselves in the winner’s bracket second round.

Eventually state champion Madisonville North-Hopkins then trounced the Jaguars 12-0 but that wasn’t the end of their road.

Mercy then shocked No. 4 McCracken County 5-3 in their first loser’s bracket game, then they beat No. 13 Central Hardin 1-0 in nine innings, and then lost a heartbreaker 2-0 to South Warren in 14 long innings.

“This team was so special because of the love we have for each other,” an emotional Collins said. “These past four years have been the best. I would have never wanted to spend it anywhere else with these girls. I hope the younger ones can continue on what we started and finish it the way we were supposed to.”

It gave the Jaguars a fifth place finish and they sent a message to the rest of the state, the Mercy softball program is alive and well.

Presentation (18-17) - Led by star catcher Abby Shipley, the Toppers had many hopes and dreams going into the season.

And at times, Pres showed flashes of greatness only losing to Butler 4-0, a team that spent most of the year in the top 10 and finishing with a winning record for the the third straight season.

The Toppers saw their season come to an end with a 12-0 loss to Ballard in the first round of the Seventh Region Tournament.

Sacred Heart (15-15) - For the Valkyries, this season was a magnificent turnaround as they didn’t have a losing record after last year’s disappointing 9-19 season.

The Valkyries won their first 27th District title since 2015 before losing a heartbreaker to Assumption in the opening round of the Seventh Region Tournament.

“We finished 15-15 after finishing 9-19 the year before,” Sacred Heart head coach Bob Wheatley said. “We had to find a lot of players. We lost our catcher and starting left fielder about halfway into the season so we had to convert people and move them around, but no excuses. These kids have a lot of battle in them. I’m proud of my team today.”

 

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