Lady Aces offense shows off in season opener, poised for postseason run in 2023

March 16, 2023 | 12:05 am

Updated March 14, 2023 | 7:27 pm

Coming off of a 2022 season in which they fell just short of a 9th District Championship and 3rd Region Championship, Owensboro Catholic is looking to find themselves right back in title contention during the postseason with plenty of experience on the roster. The Lady Aces got the year off on the right foot as well, grabbing a short-game victory in their season opener on the road against Breckinridge County.

Owensboro Catholic finished last season with a 24-15 record, with a consecutive championship loss against Daviess County ending their season. The Lady Aces will be without Camille Conkright this season, but have plenty of players with varsity action back this season.

Senior Brooke Hamilton is one of them, as she’ll be expected to handle duties on the mound once again after going 13-10 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 166 innings last year while being first in home runs (five) second on the team in RBIs at the plate (30 RBIs). Her sister Bailey Hamilton will look to lead the way offensively again after putting up four home runs and a .473 batting average last year, with strong hitters like senior Lilli Grant (four home runs, .264 batting average, 31 RBIs), Addison Tignor (.323 batting average) and Abby Dukate (.283 batting average).

The Lady Aces also have several returning players who Head Coach Jeremy Phelps said will be expected to take on more responsibilities as the season develops.

“We have several players that have seen limited varsity action that will be asked to play bigger roles this year including sophomores Tyranda Stuart, Gracie Dukate, and Hannah Tignor.  I anticipate that they will play bigger roles throughout the season.”

Owensboro Catholic will be battle tested right away too, playing seven of their first nine games on the road. They have a number of strong opponents throughout the year as well, including a spring break tournament that Phelps hopes will help them improve each game.

“We are playing a very competitive schedule that will push us to be in every game and compete for district, region, and All “A”,” Phelps said. “We have expectations to return to the All “A” state.”

The Lady Aces have gotten off to a strong start as well, defeating Breckinridge County 12-0 in five innings to grab a season-opening road win. Brooke Hamilton was sharp in her first start of the year, allowing just two hits and striking out 12 in the complete-game shutout.

Sophomore Gracie Dukate led the way at the plate with two RBIs on a 2-3 day at the plate, while seniors Abbie Dukate, Kira Edwards and Bailey Hamilton, juniors Ruth Jones and Taylor Winstead, sophomore Tyranda Stuart and freshman Hannah Robbins all had an RBI each.

“Players being able to accept their daily role and being ready to perform when they step onto the field [will be key],” Phelps said. “We have several players that are in the mix for playing time.  We don’t have a set lineup yet. There are girls out there competing every day for playing time… We stress to our players daily about doing the little things right whether it is fundamentals on defense or offense. The little things add up to be the difference in a win or loss. Everyone can contribute in one capacity or another.”

March 16, 2023 | 12:05 am

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