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Lady Cats go 0-5 in rough week

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By Greg Woods

The Henry County Lady Cats had a rough week with five losses, three of which came by one run. The Lady Cats lost close games to Shelby County, Gallatin County and Fern Creek and dropped a four-run decision to George Rogers Clark in a game that was closer than the score indicated. Western Hill defeated the Lady Cats by 10 runs in four innings in the opener of the Western Hills Invitational tournament.

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Gallatin Co. 3 HCHS 2

The Lady Cats took on Gallatin County April 23 and came out on the short end of a pitching duel.

Krista DeBurger pitched well but Gallatin got a run in the bottom of the fifth that became the game winner.

Gallatin scored two runs in the bottom of the first. The lead off batter walked but DeBurger struck out the next batter and induced the third batter into a pop out in foul territory. The cleanup hitter singled, putting runners on first and third with two outs.

She then stole second, putting two runners in scoring position. The Lady Wildcats followed with another single to centerfield, which scored the first runner. The batter tried to advance to second but was thrown out. However the play at second allowed Gallatin’s cleanup hitter to score.

The Lady Cats were kept off the scoreboard until the fifth inning when Samantha Head and Aly Stanley hit back-to-back doubles to make it 2-1.

Gallatin came back in the bottom of the inning to score what turned out to be the decisive run. The Lady Cats gave up a one-out walk followed by a single, which put runners on first and third. The next batter hit a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 3-1.

The Lady Cats tried to rally in the sixth but came up with only one run. After Gallatin recorded two outs, Mikaela Cline doubled to right field. Molly Williamson hit a single to right field, scoring Cline.

Henry County held Gallatin scoreless in the bottom of the sixth before coming to bat. With two outs, Stanley singled to centerfield but the Cats could not come up with another hit and lost their second straight one-run game.

Coach Jon Kasten was disappointed but felt his team played one of their better defensive games of the year.

“This was a tough loss, but for the first time this season, we went out and made a team beat us,” he said. “We didn’t beat ourselves. We had no errors. We played well defensively and Krista pitched great. They have a very strong middle of the lineup in Hannah Dossett, Seng and Nichelson. We held those three to two hits total which is going to be very important to being able to compete with them.

“Offensively, I think we were a little intimidated at first and it showed, but once we got into the game, I thought that we were able to calm ourselves and realize that we could hit their pitcher and we did.

“I’m never happy about a loss but this was a game where we made a team beat us. The girls know they played better this game than they have for the last week or so.”

Shelby County 5, HCHS 4

The Lady Cats traveled to Shelby County on April 22 and came out on the short end of a close game.

Shelby County scored first with a run in the bottom of the first when they got a lead off walk and advanced the runner to third on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs the Rockets got a bunt single, scoring the run from third.

The Lady Cats tied it in the third inning when Head hit a one-out single to right field. With two outs, Paige DeBurger reached on an error by the third baseman that also allowed Head to advance to third. Krista DeBurger then singled to left field to score Head.

The Cats added three runs in the top of the fifth. Paige DeBurger singled  to leadoff. Krista Deburger then sacrificed, moving her sister to second base. Olivia Whaley followed with a single to right field, scoring Paige DeBurger. Cline walked, putting runners on first and third after Whaley had advanced to third on a passed ball. Whaley then scored on another passed ball. Ray followed with an infield hit advancing Cline to second. After a pop out in foul territory, Molly Williamson singled to score Cline.

The Lady Rockets came right back in the bottom of the inning to get all three runs back. The Lady Rockets took advantage of a walk, two errors and a passed ball for their big inning. They were able to score the three runs with the benefit of only one hit.

After the Lady Cats left two stranded in the sixth, the Lady Rockets got what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the inning. The lead off batter singled to start the inning. The next batter bunted and reached on an error, which allowed the lead off batter to advance to third.

The next batter hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score the runner, and give the Lady Rockets a one run advantage.

The Lady Cats had a chance to win it in the seventh when Ray singled to lead off and Rabourn walked. But the Lady Rockets gunned down two base stealers at third to nullify the good start. Williamson walked with two outs, but a line drive to the shortstop by Stanley ended the Cats hopes for a comeback win.

Kasten saw mental mistakes by his team and improved play by the Lady Rockets as keys in the loss.

“Shelby County played better fundamental ball than we did,” he said. “They have gotten much better since we played them before, but we have as well. We got hits in this game, but just couldn’t get the timely hits that we’ve been able to come up with in the past. They capitalized when they had scoring situations and we didn’t.”

“As far as the plate, Olivia hit the ball well, as did Shelby Ray and Molly Williamson. I thought Aly, pitched a pretty good game as well. She threw the ball really well, we just didn’t support her the way we have been.”

“In the top of the seventh we had a couple of base running blunders that ended up costing us the game. We’ve been aggressive on the bases all season long, and have been trying to get the girls to be that way all year. In this case, it didn’t pay off for us.

Western Hills 10 HCHS 0

The Lady Woverines jumped on the Lady Cats for four runs in the first and five in the second and never looked back, taking the opening game of the tournament. 10-0.

The Lady Cats managed just four hits and two walks for the game.

“We didn’t show up to play,” Kasten said. “We had too many errors, didn’t hit the ball well and just looked like we didn’t want to be there.”

Fern Creek 7, HCHS 6

The Lady Cats came back strong in their first game Saturday morning and hit the Lady Tigers for five runs in the first inning.

Stanley scored the first run on an RBI groundout by Paige DeBurger. Krista DeBurger followed with a double and Whaley followed with a single. DeBurger and Whaley scored when Cline reached on an error by the Lady Tigers. Ray followed with a two-run homer.

Fern Creek crept back into the game with a run in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth. Because of the one-hour, 20 minute time limit in the tournament, the game went to the international tiebreaker rule — putting a runner on second base to start each inning — for the final two innings.

Neither team scored in the sixth and then Henry County broke through for one in the seventh when Paige DeBurger drove in a run with a single to centerfield.

Fern Creek came back in the bottom of the inning to score two runs on a hit batter, a walk and two singles to end the game.

Kasten was disappointed with the loss, but pleased that his team bounced back and competed after the blowout loss to Western Hills.

“Saturday, I thought we came out and looked a lot better,” he said. “We had a glimpse of what we could be through the first two innings of the game. Our girls came out and got a nice 5-0 lead.

“We slowly let Fern Creek creep back in. They tied it up at the end of the time limit which forced us into the international tiebreaker. We were able to get two pop-ups after they loaded the bases but then they hit a shot to left field. Shelby Ray made a dive for it, but couldn’t grab it and they won the game.”

George Rogers Clark 6, HCHS 2

The Lady Cats got their bats going against the Lady Cardinals as they went for 10 hits but could not string enough together to score more than two runs. The Lady Cardinals helped themselves by playing a clean defensive game, with only one error and no walks.

The Lady Cats threatened in the second inning when Cline and Ray started the inning with singles, but the Lady Cats popped out twice and grounded into a force play at third, ending the threat.

The Cats scored their first run in the top of the third when the DeBurger sisters got back-to-back one-out singles. Paige DeBurger then scored on a Whaley groundball.

The Lady Cardinals tied it with a run in the bottom of the inning on a bunt single and a double.

Henry County regained the lead in the fourth when Ray singled and came around to score on a Head single.

GRC scored again in the bottom of the inning to tie it again. Their second batter reached on an error and came around to score on a two-out double to left field.

The Lady Cardinals added two runs in the fifth and sixth innings before the game ended on the time-limit rule.

“We hit the ball in this game and had some really good defensive plays,” Kasten said. “When they got a two-run lead on us, we knew we were running out of time and needed to make quick outs, so we had to start throwing pitches they could hit to try and make plays, but they were able to find holes in the defense to run the time out up 6-2. The score wasn’t indicative of how close the game really was.”