Bombers Advance to Regionals
Tim Taylor, KPI Staff
Bombers Advance to Regionals
Four the third time in the last five years, the Ballard Memorial Bombers have reached the 20 win mark. The Bombers won their 20th game on the year with a 2-1 victory over Calloway County on Thursday, May 15th at Calloway County.
Gavin Williams pitched all six innings in the game that was called due to rain at the conclusion on sixth inning. Williams allowed one run on five hits while allowing three walks and striking out two Laker batters. Williams stands at 5-1 on the year. The Bombers scored both runs in the third inning for the win. Cody Collier led off the inning with a walk and promptly stole second base. Bradley Roberts flied out which allowed Collier to advance to third. Adison Wildharber, who missed the first half of the season recovering from an injury, singled to score Collier. Wildharber then stole second base and advanced to third on an Evan Lawrence single. Lee Chandler flew out to centerfield for the second out, but his hit was far enough to allow Wildharber to tag up and score on the play to provide with Bombers will all the runs they would need. Lawrence, who played catcher in the game, was able to throw out two runners attempting to steal in the game to help lead the defense. Wildharber had half of the Bombers hits in the game as he went 3-3 with one RBI and scored a run. The Bombers scored two runs on six hits without committing an error to improve to 20-9 on the year.
As well as the defense played on Thursday, they looked the complete opposite at Union County on Saturday the 17th. In a game Coach Jeff Sadler simply said was a very ugly game, the Braves won the first game of the double header 8-2. The Bombers managed two runs on four hits while committing five errors. Union County scored with runs on seven hits while committing three errors of their own. Lawrence went 2-2 while Clay Newton and Williams also picked up a hit each in the game. Chandler took the loss as he pitched three innings while Lawrence pitched one inning and Andrew Craycraft pitched two innings.
The Bombers did not fare much better in the nightcap as the Braves captured the second game 11-3. Ballard Memorial pounded out eight hits but managed to only to score three times. Wildharber continued to be strong at the plate as he went 2-4 with a double while Lawrence also went 2-4 and Chandler went 2-3 with a double. The Bombers allowed 11 runs on 9 hits while either walking or hitting 10 additional Brave batters. Alek Hugen pitched two innings and picked up the loss. Newton pitched three innings while Craycraft pitched one. The Union County game concluded the Bombers regular season with the 20-11 record.
The Bombers opened 3rd District Tournament play on Monday, May 19th at Graves County against the Mayfield Cardinals. The winner would advance to Tuesday’s championship game as well as advance to the regional tournament which begins on May 26th. The Bombers advanced to the championship game with a 9-8 win over the Cardinals. Ballard Memorial scored four runs in the bottom of the first to take early advantage highlighted by a two RBI single to get the scoring started. The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the top of the second, aided by a pair of Bomber errors, to tie the game up. Chandler hit an RBI triple in the third to give the Bombers the lead back. Cavin Foster hit a sacrifice fly to score Chandler from third for the two run lead. Pitcher Gavin Williams recovered from the second inning and held the Cardinals scoreless for the next four innings. The Bombers got some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth with Hugen providing the big hit with a two RBI single to score Wildharber and Roberts. Newton then provided the game winner single to score Lawrence from third to provide the Bombers with the 9-4 lead. The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the seventh and had the game tying runner on third base when Williams struck out pinch hitter Conner Guthrie to close the game. Wildharber went 3-4 and scored twice along with Hugen also who went 3-4 with three RBI’s and scoring once. Lawrence went 2-3 scoring twice and had two RBI’s. Foster went 1-3 with two RBI’s and Roberts scored twice in the game. Williams went the distance allowing eight runs on seven hits, giving up three walks and striking out seven Cardinal batters. He improved to 6-1 on the year as the Bombers picked up their 21st victory of the season.
“It was scaring me there at the end,” said Williams, as he added, “But we pulled through and it feels good.” “Gavin has been solid for us all year long and I thing he deserved this opportunity,” said Coach Sadler adding, “It was our goal to go with Gavin the entire game.” Sadler said about the game, “It wasn’t pretty but we get to play tomorrow and next week. He added, “Your whole goal is to get to the regional tournament and just see how it goes from there. We’re there now.”