The weather for Boyle County’s softball team’s season opener was more fitting for a late-season football game.
But it made no difference to the Rebels, who had been practicing in this stuff for weeks, and made it show with a 7-1 beating of visiting Rockcastle County on Tuesday.
“Coach (Brian) Deem has been really good about getting us out in the field during the cold,” said senior pitcher Elysse Petrie, who picked up the win. “During practice when most teams are inside, we’ve been outside practicing. We’re fortunate enough to have (artificial) turf, and that’s been beneficial to us. It just helps gets us more reps in the field and get more prepared for games.”
Petrie tossed a three-hitter, striking out 10 batters and walking just one, and she said she felt good despite the cold weather.
“I felt pretty strong. I had my team behind me and everybody’s been working super hard. I’m just pleased with the way my team played and backed me up,” she said.
Sophomore Julia Little had a two-run, pinch-hit single to break open a tight game, and Hannah Miniard, Sammy Key and Cullen Byrne all drove in runs for the Rebels (1-0) , who are coming off a third-place finish in the state tournament.
If they want to get back to that place this season, Deem said the Rebels need to start improving now.
“We didn’t hit the ball exceptionally well. We did capitalize on some of their mistakes to score our runs, but we made quite a few mental errors that we definitely have to clean up, and we will. It’s the first game of the year. We just have to understand the process of getting better. We did make some mistakes that will cost us against good teams,” he said.
Rockcastle took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Samantha Payne hit a ground-rule double, went to second on Hailey Harper’s single and scored when Harper tried to steal second and the throw went into center field.
But that was all the Rockets (0-1) could muster against Petrie, and Boyle took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.
Madison DeBord walked, stole second and went to third on Amy Woolum’s fielder’s choice. After Heather Hasty reached on an error, DeBord scored on a Rockcastle throwing error. Kalin Bottoms, running for Hasty, came around to third on the play and scored on Byrne’s fielder’s choice as Boyle led 2-1.
It stayed that way until the fourth inning.
With two outs, Woolum walked, went to second on Hasty’s single and to third on an error. Little then pinch-hit for Byrne and slapped a single to right field that scored Woolum and Bottoms, who ran for Hasty, and made it 4-1 Boyle.
“We’ve been watching her all preseason, and she’s done a great job of working on her hitting,” Deem said. “And we had an opportunity with two runners on, I was going to give her that shot. And she came through like through like a gem.”
Petrie, meanwhile, allowed just two base-runners over the final five innings.
“She did OK. I thought we have to hit our spots a little better,” Deem said. “I thought we left some pitches a little too meaty, but for an opening day I thought Elyse did a fine job.”
In the fifth, Miniard’s triple to right center scored Lauren Richards, who reached on an error. Miniard later scored on Key’s sacrifice fly for a 6-1 lead. The Rebels got their final run when Hannah Chadwell singled, made it to third on one wild pitch, then scored on another.
Rockcastle County 010 000 0 — 1 3 4
Boyle County 020 221 x — 7 5 1
Hailey Harper and Samantha Payne. Elyse Petrie and Heather Hasty. W—Petrie (1-0). L—Harper (0-1). 2B—Payne (RC). 3B—Hannah Miniard (BC).