May 9th, 2018

Foley's jersey retired, Rockets nearly upset No. 3 Ballard

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Foley's jersey retired, Rockets nearly upset No. 3 Ballard
Morgan Foley with her mom and dad / photo by Conor Revell

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Assumption’s softball team nearly made Morgan Foley’s jersey retirement day one to remember for everybody.

The 21st-ranked Rockets hung tough, but lost a 13-11 slugfest heartbreaker to visiting third-ranked Ballard Wednesday night.

“You can’t quit on us, my team has a very powerful offense, and they’re going to continue to fight,” Assumption head coach Lisa Pinkston said. “We won or tied every inning but two. I told my team before the game that one of our goals was to win or tie every inning. I think anybody who was here saw that we put up a really good fight.”

Going into the seventh inning, Assumption (16-11) was up 7-6, but the Bruins (19-2) scored seven runs and went up 13-7 in the top half.

Allie Skaggs, Hayleigh Gnagie, and Taylor Kulb each delivered 2-run singles and Alivia Sinott had an RBI sacrifice fly to help Ballard take the lead.

“I love our fight, we never hung our head,” Ballard head coach Alan Jones said. “We let the pitches come to us. We had some kids that hadn’t had big hits at the bottom of our lineup get big hits for us. What Hayleigh did was huge. Allie had a huge, huge hit. What about our slappers? They were awesome. We had a lot of good things happen.

“The best part about a game like that is that you never know what can happen in a game like that until you play in one of that nature and now they know and said ‘hey coach, every time we come out, we have to bring our A game.’ And, when you have Ballard on your shirt, everybody wants to beat you.”

Assumption fought back and scored five of their own in the bottom half and had the game winning run at the plate.  Maranda Thomas flied out to end the game.

“I think it was the fact that it was the fourth time they were going through our pitchers,” Pinkston said. “They figured us out. Defensively, we played a solid game (Sydney Young threw out three runs at home). Ballard is ranked third in the state for a reason.”

Jordan Ridge and Braxton Downs both had run-scoring singles while Olivia Pastin had a sacrifice fly and another run crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

“We’ve been telling them all along that the best hitting team in our region I think is Assumption,” Jones said. “They proved it tonight because we have two very great pitchers. One is going to Clemson and one is going to South Florida. That’s not a fluke, but I think we were down a little from the loss to Male last night.”

It was a wild game, the Rockets went up 2-0 in the first inning on Downs 2-run single. Gnagie had an RBI base hit to cut the Bruins deficit to 2-1 in the top of the second.

The Rockets answered in the bottom half and made it 4-1 on Maggie Metzger’s RBI single and a second run scored on a Ballard error.

Ballard answered and made it 4-3 when Skaggs hit a bomb to left center field in the third.

The Bruins took a 6-4 lead in the fourth. Kalumb had an RBI base hit, Skaggs was intentionally walked with the bases loaded, and Kelley had an RBI groundout.

But, Downs made it 7-6 when she hit it a towering three-run bomb that crossed the parking lot and put a dent on a red truck.

“I believe I was down in the count,” Downs said. “It was a screwball, I saw the screwball break, and screwballs are my favorite pitches to hit, and it went out.”

Pinkston knew it was gone immediately.

“She’s so good,” Pinkston said. “We called bombs like her ‘Rocket Shots.’ I’m proud of her; she has a bunch of power, and is so dangerous.”

Downs had a historic day – going 3 for 4 and reaching base four times – and drove in a whopping six runs.

“I’ve been suffering from a hip injury as of late,” Downs said. “Hitting the homerun was kind of reassurance that I can fight through the pain. But, tonight was a total team effort, that one bomb was just a part of it.”

Sinnott and Kelley pitched for Ballard and allowed 11 runs, 14 hits, struck out a combined four hitters, walked three, and plunked one.

Olivia Casey and Caroline Weickel threw for Assumption and allowed 13 runs, 16 hits, walked six, and plunked one.

Morgan Foley honored

Foley’s jersey was retired in a ceremony before the game meaning no Assumption softball player will ever wear the No. 20 again.

“This means the world to me,” Foley said. “I loved my time here at Assumption and it really set me up for the success that I had.”

Foley had a historic career as a Rocket and led her team to a 96-44 record over her four-year career and was named the Class 3-A Player of the Year by the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association as a senior.

“It has been so cool to have a lot of alumni on staff especially Morgan,” Pinkston said. “She happens to be an All-American and a professional softball player. It means more to the players to have a coach like that here every day mentoring them. She has showed them if this is what you want; you can go out and get it. That part is so rewarding to our players.”

She then made noise at the University of Indianapolis where she shattered nearly every pitching record at the school.

Foley is the all-time leader in wins (140), strikeouts (1,659), and innings pitched (1,027). Her career strikeout total is second in NCAA Division II history and also became just the third NCAA pitcher, first in Division II history, to strikeout all 21 hitters she faced in a game.

“Jen Hunt was my head coach here at Assumption,” Foley said. “She really helped me develop as a player during my high school years and reached out to colleges that I had never heard of including the University of Indianapolis which is where I ended up going and that was because she believed in me.”

Since graduating from UINDY, Foley has played pro softball in the NPF and guided the Chicago Bandits to the 2016 title and the Houston Scrapyard Dogs to the 2017 championship.

Foley is also the pitching coach at Assumption.

“I love coaching,” Foley said. “It’s awesome to see these players grow and see how much these players love the game and it has made me love the game more seeing it from a different perspective on the coaching side.” 


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