May 11th, 2012
Collins Bests Valkyries In Charger Classic
Stranded base runners cost SHA in 4-0 defeat
On a picture perfect evening in Jeffersontown, things started beautifully for the Sacred Heart Academy softball team in the opening round of the Lady Charger Classic.
But host J'town was the eventual winner, shutting out the Valkyries 4-0 and sending SHA to the consolation round.
SHA senior leadoff hitter Olivia Russell clobbered a Collins High School pitch to the gap in right center field and raced her way to second base. The next hitter, junior Melissa Hammer, punched a bunt between the pitcher and third base and wheeled her way down the line for an infield hit.
So the first two runners of the game were on base with no outs. They eventually advanced on a fielder’s choice. But the Valkyries couldn’t put a run on the scoreboard and knew they left opportunity on the bases.
The Collins High Titans struck in the bottom of the first inning, scoring one run when the leadoff hitter, Bailey Rankin, scored on a fielder’s choice play. But Sacred Heart sophomore KJ Holden settled down after that first run scored, retiring the Titans’ fifth and sixth hitters and fending off what could have been a very long first inning.
The Valkyries did not help themselves much on the bases. They left eight runners on base in the game. They had another great opportunity to plate some runs in the top of the fourth inning.
With one out, sophomore Ellen Stephens reached on an infield hit. She advanced on a single by sophomore Annie Sawyer. The two advanced on a dropped ball on a called third strike. With two outs, Stephens and Sawyer were on third base and second base, respectively. But Collins senior Jeneca Thomas got the third out on a pop out back to the pitcher.
“Jeneca (Thomas) did a nice job against us tonight,” Sacred Heart assistant coach Steve Gott said. “She kept us off balance, we really couldn’t get in a groove.”
Collins managed to sprinkle in three more runs, took advantage of six Sacred Heart errors and won the game 4-0. The Titans (14-14) got revenge on the Valkyries (15-10) from an 8-7 loss earlier in the season. But in this game, Sacred Heart just couldn’t produce any runs.
“I was disappointed in our hitting tonight. We didn’t do our part,” Gott said. “The first inning when we didn’t score after getting the first two batters on base, I really thought that set the tone for the game. We should have scored at least one out of that. It took the wind out of our sails right away.”
The young Valkyries play Presentation Academy Saturday morning at 9am in the consolation round of the Lady Charger Classic. They will also play another game at J’town Saturday afternoon.
SHA has six more games before they open the first round of the 27th District tournament at Ballard against Seneca High School.