It was an action-packed seventh inning, but Isabella Henning’s three-run homer proved to be the biggest highlight as Owensboro Catholic came from behind to beat Apollo 9-7 to stay perfect in 9th District softball action.
Despite early home runs by Hadley Phelps and Bailey Simone, the Lady Aces (7-5, 3-0 9th District) trailed 7-4 heading into the final frame Monday night. A flurry of hard hits pushed them in front of the E-Gals (6-9, 1-1), who couldn’t capitalize with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the inning.
Catholic started the seventh with back-to-back singles by Anna Meyer and Camille Conkright. Isabella Henning then blasted a shot over the right-center field wall to tie the game.
“We want Isabella up right there,” said Lady Aces head coach Jeremy Phelps. “Everybody on this side of the field wants Isabella up. Every team has their hitter. We want her up. We were feeling great about that.”
Danielle Henning singled and then scored on a doubled to the left corner by Hannah Carter. A hit by Hadley Phelps advanced Carter, who scored on a single by Bailey Simone.
Apollo was finally able to stop the bleeding with a double play on a bunt attempt, as they got the out at first before tagging out the runner trying to take home.
Jeremy Phelps said it was exciting to see his girls have confidence they could still win.
“Them just fighting back and never quitting, that’s what I like,” he said. “It’s fun.”
The E-Gals nearly pulled out the win anyway, but they weren’t able to score after getting the first three runners aboard.
Following leadoff singles by Madison Lowe and Lauren Whitehouse, Catholic’s Hadley Phelps — who pitched the first two innings — returned to the circle to replace Lexi Hatchett. Hadley Phelps walked Hallie Wilson to load the bases before the Lady Aces got out of a jam.
Hadley Phelps then struck out Madison Julian for the first out, a baserunning mistake led to the second, and Abbie Gore grounded out to end the game.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought battle,” Jeremy Phelps said. “Records don’t batter. These girls know each other. It was going to go down to the wire.”
Apollo head coach Stephen Julian said a few late mistakes played a role in the loss.
“We made a couple of mistakes when we shouldn’t have,” he said. “That’s a fun game to coach, a fun game to be a part of, both sides. I think we gave them five or six outs in the last inning. You make routine plays in the last inning, ballgame. But we didn’t, they capitalized on it, and that’s what good teams do.”
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the night. Catholic first took the lead on a solo shot by Hadley Phelps in the second inning. RBI singles from Madison Julian and Keely Eans put Apollo up 2-1 in the bottom of the frame, and they added two more in the third.
Simone then knocked a three-run homer in the fourth for a 5-4 advantage before the E-Gals went on top 7-4 in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double by Brooke Brown and RBI single by Madison Lowe.
Isabella Henning said she kept her thoughts simple when she stepped to the plate in the seventh inning.
“My thought is just hit the ball hard, do what I have to do to get my teammates in and tie the game,” she said.
Hadley Phelps had a similar mindset, and said everyone on the team believes in each other.
“I think we’re going up there with the right approach at the plate,” she said. “We just have a goal of hitting the ball hard and knowing what we’re looking for. You just have to trust your team. I just wanted to go up there and be patient and hit the ball hard.”
Hadley Phelps got the win in the circle, giving up two runs on two hits in four total innings. Madison Julian took the loss and was responsible for all nine runs on 11 hits.
The Catholic offense was led by Simone (3-for-4, run, 4 RBIs, HR). Danielle Henning and Carter each had a pair of hits and runs scored, and Isabella Henning had three RBIs.
For the E-Gals, Eans had a pair of hits, Madison Shemwell scored twice, and Brown and Lowe each drove in two runs.
WP: Hatchett. LP: Julian. 2B: Hannah Carter (OC), Brown (A). HR: I Henning, Phelps, Simone (OC).