Lady Bombers One Win Short
by Tim Taylor
A trip to Owensboro for the All A State Tournament was on the line for the Ballard Memorial Lady Bombers. They started their quest for the title on Tuesday night, April 11th against Christian Fellowship. Though not seeded as one of the top two teams, Ballard Memorial was one of the favorites to advance to the championship and they made short work of the Lady Eagles to begin the tournament. Scoring five runs in the first put the Lady Bombers in the driver's seat. They scored two more in the second and sophomore Anessa Green removed any doubt in the outcome as she clobbered a three run home run over the centerfield fence to make the score 11-0 in the third. Ballard Memorial went on for the 15-0 win in five innings. Green finished a single shy of hitting for the cycle finishing with a HR, a pair of triples and a double and had six RBI's. Shelby Hawes was dominate on the mound allowing two base runners in the five innings as she hit one batter and allowed a fifth inning single while striking out seven batters.
On Wednesday, the Lady Bombers faced the number one seeded Lady Falcons of Hickman County. Ballard Memorial scored five in the second inning to go up 6-1. The Lady Bombers coasted to the finals winning 10-2 as Jayde Newton had a pair of RBI's and three hits while Madison Nichols added three RBI's. Ballard Memorial entered the championship game against Carlisle County outscoring their two opponents 25-2 while the Lady Comets outscored their two opponents 26-3.
The finale was expected to be much tighter than the preliminary games and the game lived up to its billing. In a championship game, you have to take advantage of every opportunity and Carlisle County did exactly that. Ballard Memorial got a leadoff walk and single, but could not score in the first. The Lady Comets got a leadoff walk and a fielder's choice to move the runner to second base with one out. Christina ODaniel delivered a shot between shortstop and third to drive in Maddie Martin to put the Lady Comets up 1-0. In the third, a one out bunt single by Shelby Elrod led to the Lady Bombers getting on the scoreboard. Elrod stole second base and Martin's attempt to throw Elrod out at second was sent into the outfield allowing Elrod to advance to third. Green then delivered with a deep drive to centerfield, but it was caught for a sacrifice fly allowing Elrod to tag up and score to tie the game at one all. The bottom of the third was the decisive inning. An error allowed the leadoff hitter reach base and advance to second and Martin reached base as well to put runners on second and third and no outs. Two fly outs put the Lady Bombers one out away from getting out of the inning unscathed. Green made an errant throw back to Hawes on the mound and Taylor Owens broke for home. Mady Calvin retrieved the errant throw and got Owens in a run down between third and home. However as Green applied the tag on Owens heading back to third, she lost control of the ball. Emily Newson then hit a slow roller between the pitcher's mound and second and Newton could not get the grip on the ball to make the play at first allowing the Lady Comets to score two to make the score 3-1. Hawes tried to keep the Lady Bombers in striking distance as she retired the final ten batters she faced allowing only a pair of hits in the game. Ballard Memorial tried to mount a late rally in the seventh as a leadoff error put Nichols on first. After pinch hitter Tara Tabor flied out to left field, Calvin hit into a fielder's choice forcing Nichols out at second. Fields reached on an error to put runners on first and second with two outs. Elrod came to the plate and ran it to a full count, but then grounded out to second base to end the game allowing the Lady Comets prevail 3-1. "We kind of got lax on a couple of plays and it hurt us," said Coach Danny Leidecker but he added, "We worked hard to get here and runner up is not bad." He continued, "Sometimes it just does not go the way we want it to go. We did not hit the ball like we had been." Green, Hawes, and Newton were selected to the All A All-Tournament Team. The Lady Bombers have to regroup and will play a district game on Monday the 17th at Mayfield, then on Tuesday they play at St. Mary, and host Hickman on Friday. "We are going to push them and they are still hungry, said Leidecker about his Lady Bombers adding, "We have other goals to achieve. We still have district and regionals. The season is not over with by far and we are about the half way point."