Darren Doyle, story and photos
Any softball or baseball fan at some point has played a similar scenario in their mind: "Tie ballgame, bases loaded, two outs..." Although it wasn't the bottom of the ninth as seen in the movies, it was the bottom of the sixth, and for senior Jhonna Basil and the Lady Cats, this at-bat would be the deciding factor in the game.
The Lady Cats had just gone ahead 3-2 after Barren County walked Olivia Allen with the bases loaded after a grueling 10 pitch at-bat.
Basil swung at the first pitch she saw; a fastball right down the middle of the zone that sailed into the outfield for a three-run, base clearing triple that extended the lead to 6-2.
"I think the pressure was taken off me after the run was walked in to give us the lead," Basil said, "but I knew that we needed to extend the lead because Barren is a great team and could easily come back with us being up only one run."
One-run leads going into the final inning can easily be erased, but four-run leads can definitely give a team some breathing room. "I knew I had to deliver and I wanted to for the rest of my team," Basil added.
The Lady Cats jumped out to a 2-0 lead as they were able to put up a couple of runs in the bottom of the second, and the score remained the same until Barren County tied things up in the top of the sixth at 2-all. The momentum had shifted in Barren's favor until the Lady Cats made a huge recovery.
With runners at second and third with two outs, Barren County bunted in the top of the sixth. Pitcher Rachael Duncan scooped up the ball and faked a throw to first, which fooled the runner at third into taking several huge steps toward home. She slammed on the brakes, but got caught in a rundown with Duncan and third baseman Basil and was tagged out, ending their rally.
"I told the girls that if you can't get excited over bases-loaded, two-out, pressure situation-softball, you don't need to be here," said head coach Jeremy Garmon. "That's what it's all about, that's what you practice for, and that's what you play for."
Garmon credited Olivia Allen for excellent plate discipline in an extremely intense situation. "Olivia's got great hands and she was able to get that walk there in the sixth that was huge for us," he said.
Rachael Duncan got the win, going the full seven innings, only allowing one earned run, while giving up four walks, and notching two strikeouts.
"I can never say enough about Rachael," Garmon said. "She probably wouldn't want me saying this, but she threw up several times today. She didn't know if she'd even be able to play tonight, but she toughed it out and was certainly ready."
Basil was 2-4 with 3 RBI, Alex Whitfill went 1-2, Caitlin Simon was 1-2 with 2 walks, Cierra Woodcock was 1-3 with an RBI, Olivia Allen was 0-3, but walked with the bases loaded, earning an RBI. Rebecca Massey was 1-4.
The Lady Cats improve to 6-2 on the season and have won three in a row.
"I love my squad," the coach said. "They listen and I couldn't ask for a better group of kids. We stay loose, but they know when to get serious. They know when it's it time to play, and they can play."
The JV squad fell 6-2 to Barren County following the varsity game. The Lady Cats are scheduled to take on Butler County at home on Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30pm.