Lady Bombers claim All-A Championship
The Ballard Memorial Lady Bomber softball team is the First Region All A Tournament champions, claiming the title with a 5-1 win on Monday night over St. Mary. “It’s amazing”, said senior Taylor Foster. Pitcher Rebekah Hogancamp struck out 11 batters and allowed only two hits to pick up the victory. She said, “It’s so exciting. It’s a great accomplishment for us.”
The game hosted at Carlisle County saw the Lady Bombers squander some scoring opportunities early on. With no score in the second, the Lady Bombers loaded the bases, but Rianah Fields struck out swinging to end the inning. In their half of the second, the Lady Vikings got a single to start the inning by left fielder Alex Durbin. She stole second and then third base. A line drive went off the end of third baseman Shelby Amis’ glove allowing the Lady Vikings to strike first at 1-0. Hogancamp struck out the next two batters to end the inning. The Lady Bombers then responded in the third. Hogancamp got an infield single. Shelby Elrod pinch ran for Hogancamp and stole second base. Leah Shelley then singled to right center field scoring Elrod to tie the game at one.
The Lady Bombers again loaded the bases in the fourth with one out. Ashleigh Tyson flew out to the shortstop and Hogancamp struck out swinging to leave the bases loaded for the second time in the game. The Lady Vikings threatened again in the fourth. A one out single by Durbin saw her advance to second as Foster bobbled the ball in centerfield. A bunt single put runners on the corner with one out. The next batter hit a fly ball to shortstop Jade Babb for the second out. That was followed up with a fly ball to second baseman Fields to end the threat.
Shelley hit a smash to first base to start the fifth inning. The ball ricocheted off the first baseman and ended up in centerfield. Morgan Yarbrough pinch ran for Shelley. With two outs, Foster hit a crushing shot over the centerfielder’s head allowing Yarbrough to score to put the Lady Bombers up 2-1. Amis hit to the shortstop and the throw to first got by the first baseman allowing Foster to score to extend the lead to 3-1. In the sixth, the Lady Bombers took advantage of some more Lady Viking miscues. Fields reached on an error by the first baseman. Tyson followed with a hit to the third baseman. They tried to force Fields out at second, but the ball went into the outfield allowing Fields to score and Tyson advanced to second. Shelley added another RBI single scoring Tyson pushing the lead to 5-1.
Then with two outs in the seventh, Hogancamp got Lady Vikings Lexi Carter to strike out to end the game. “This is very special,” said Coach Terry Amis adding, “I am extremely proud of these kids. They are great kids and work hard.” The coach gives most of the credit to his two seniors Babb and Foster for their leadership. Amis said, “Even when we were getting beat early in the season, these seniors never hung their heads, and they led this team to keep improving each week.” The Lady Bombers started the season winless in the first nine games, but have won six of their last seven.
In the opening round of the tournament on Wednesday, April 16th, the Lady Bombers had their backs against the wall and the imminent end to the All A Tournament was knocking on the door. The Lady Bombers trailed Hickman County 6-0 as they entered the sixth inning. With a bleak outlook, Ballard Memorial found a ray of light. With two runners on, Taylor Foster ripped a triple to score two runs. Shelby Amis doubled to score Foster to trim the lead in half at 6-3 entering the final inning. In the seventh, Ashleigh Tyson started the inning with a hit of a different kind. She was hit by the pitch to get on base. She stole second and then scored on a Leah Shelly single. A Jade Babb single kept the rally going. Then, with two outs, Foster once again delivered sending the ball to the fence to score two runs to tie the game at six. Amis doubled again to score Foster and to provide the Lady Bombers with their first lead. The Lady Bombers added a couple of more runs to extend the lead to 9-6.
The Lady Falcons started their half of the seventh with a fly out to Hawes in left field for the first out. The next batter lined out to Rianah Fields at second base for the second out. Rebekah Hogancamp then struck out the final batter to send the Lady Bombers to the semifinal matchup with host Carlisle County. Amis said, “A month ago, we would have given up, but we have grown up so much.”
In Thursday’s semifinals against the Lady Comets, the Lady Bombers got all the run support they needed in the second inning. Heading into the second with no score, the Lady Bombers put three runs on the board and cruised from there. They added two more runs to take the five run lead and went on for the 5-0 shutout. Ballard Memorial has allowed their opponents only one run in the last 16 innings.
Foster, Hogancamp, and Amis were selected to the All-Tournament Team for their efforts. The Lady Bombers advance to this weekend’s state tournament at Jack Fisher Park in Owensboro. The top two teams in each of the four pools will advance to Sunday’s championship round. The Lady Bombers begin play on Saturday morning at 10:30 against Louisville Holy Cross, followed by a 2:00 matchup with Bracken County, and they conclude Saturday with the 5:30 matchup with Raceland. “I am looking forward to getting some more wins. We’re finally clicking as a team and figuring out how to win,” said Foster. Hogancamp concluded saying, “This team has great chemistry and we are starting to mesh. We have heart and we are not going to stop here.”