In a game where both teams had home runs in the first inning, it was Owensboro Catholic that eventually came out on top but the visiting Apollo E-gals weren’t going to make the Lady Aces 9th District opener an easy win.
Despite scoring in all but one inning, the Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces weren’t able to put Apollo away despite a solid pitching outing from Lexy Hatchett in the 8-5 win over the E-gals.
Catholic coach Jeremy Phelps said Hatchett had been out six weeks with a back injury and was finally ready to return.
“Getting her back into it is key for us,” he said. “I only had two pitchers two years ago so getting her back I think was key and that helped us out here … I’m really proud of her. After the leadoff home run she calmed down and showed a lot of poise.”
Hatchett went five innings and struck out five while allowing two earned runs in the game to grab the win.
The aforementioned leadoff home run came from Apollo’s Morgan Frizzell that then gave the E-gals a quick 1-0 lead but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
In the bottom of the frame, Hadley Phelps delivered a home run over the left field fence to tie the game.
“We came back and answered in the first inning,” Phelps said. “That takes pressure off the pitcher.”
Catholic added two in the second and one in the third to take a 4-1 lead heading to the fifth inning.
After teams scored in the fifth and sixth innings, the host Aces led 8-3 heading into the final frame before Apollo tried to rally to extend the game. The E-gals scored two to cut the deficit to three but that’s as close as they would get in the 8-5 final.
Brooke Hamilton pitched the final two frames for Catholic as she also helped the Aces at the plate. Hamilton went 2-4 with a home run and two RBIs in the victory. Addison Tignor also added two RBIs for Catholic.
For Apollo, Frizzell finished with two RBIs while Macy Calhoun did damage from the back of the lineup going 2-3 with an RBI and two doubles.
E-gal coach Stephen Julian said he liked how his team played Monday.
“We’re getting better,” he said. “Pitchers did a better job. I don’t know how many errors we had … But they capitalized. We capitalized on a couple of theirs too but we’ve got to play a cleaner game. We came through at the end and made it interesting and that’s part of what makes the game fun when you can compete and we competed tonight. Way more pleased tonight than what I have been several of our games. Looking for that improvement and I think we’re getting it.”
Despite getting their first win Saturday over Meade County, Julian said he wasn’t sure if that gave them a boost going into the matchup against Catholic and added everyone should be ready to play against an opponent in the city.
“If you can’t get up for this game and a district game, you probably shouldn’t play,” he said. “If you’re not a little bit excited and have some jitters then why play the game? I think we came and we competed. They just scored more runs than we did.”
Apollo plays at Evansville Mater Dei on Wednesday then has another district contest Thursday at Daviess County.
Catholic plays at Owensboro today and then hosts Owensboro on Thursday before starting their All “A” Classic Tournament on Saturday at Jack C. Fisher Park.
Phelps said it’s nice to get to play in the All “A” again and their recent schedule had prepared them well.
“When we put that schedule together, we didn’t know if we were going to be able to play in the All ‘A’,” he said. “Coming back and getting to play in a bunch of games last week and then this week … I want to get all three pitchers some time because this weekend, that’s what we play for.”
Phelps, Hannah Carter and Gracie Jennings are the only current players on the roster with state tournament experience as they were on the squad in 2017, the last time the Lady Aces made the KHSAA Softball State Tournament.
Phelps said this weekend is important for a lot of players.
“For them to experience that, I think that’s big,” he said. “We’re making this a big deal so they can see what it’s like.”