From the last game of the 2010 season, East Jessamine softball was pegged as a team that had the talent to go to the state tournament in 2011. Last week, the Lady Jags made the trip to Owensboro that many expected them to make. But the trip and season did not end as many would have wished. Instead, it ended after back-to-back losses in record-breaking, nail-biting and disappointing games.
“We played hard; they played like they had all year with a lot of heart; they battled,” East Jessamine coach Tom Hamm said. “... We gave it all we had, and that’s all you can ask of them.”
On day one of the tournament, the Lady Jags were victims of a perfect game thrown by eventual state champion Kesli Pardue of Allen County-Scottsville. The Lady Jags fell 10-0 in six innings.
On Friday, East was in a record-setting game that took four hours and 23 minutes to complete. A bulk of the time was spent in heat index delays that totaled an hour and 50 minutes. In the end, East lost, 15-12.
The Lady Jags ended the season at 22-11, with a district title, the school’s first region title and a trip to state on their resumé.
“That’s a tribute to how hard they’ve worked and the amount of heart they play with and the will to win,” Hamm said. “They’ve never given up no matter what the situation was.
“These seniors (Danielle Boston, Bethany Davis, Kayla Hall and Emily Underwood) ... deserve this (trip to state); and I’m proud of them; I just wish it didn’t have to end now.”
Montgomery County 15
East Jessamine 12
On Friday, the Lady Jags were able to accomplish with one batter what that could not all day on Thursday — get a hit. In fact, East hammered out 14 hits against Montgomery County.
Shaylin Pryse led off the game with a single to right field for East and became the first run scored when she took home on a throwing error later in the inning. East took a 3-0 lead in the frame.
Between the second and third innings, play was halted for a 10-minute break due to the heat index. The index was so high that play ended up being suspended for more than an hour until it dropped to a safe level.
“I think (the breaks) are a momentum killer for both teams,” Hamm said. “We were up three, had all the momentum. They take a two-hour break or however long it was, and we come back and they tie it ... it was just a constant back and forth.”
After play resumed, East gave up its 3-0 lead by allowing four runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Davis, who was in the circle for the duration of Friday’s game, allowed five hits in a row in the big inning.
East tied the game back up in the top of the fourth on back-to-back doubles to left field by Heather Welch and Boston.
Davis gave East its second lead of the game in the top of the fifth on a two-out, two-run home run to left center to put East up 6-4.
However, the lead and celebration were short lived.
The Lady Indians hit four doubles in a row off Davis and scored five runs in the inning to go ahead 9-6.
“I think the season has worn on Bethany’s arm; we rode her pretty hard this year getting to where we’re at, and we asked a lot of her,” Hamm said.
Heading into the top of the seventh, East remained down by three runs with Underwood, Sarah Rainwater and Davis due up with the season on the line.
Underwood and Rainwater both singled, and Davis came through with yet another clutch home run. This time she sent the first pitch she saw over the right-center field wall, tying the game 9-9.
In the top of the eighth, it was Underwood’s turn to come through with the big hit as she drove in two runs on a double to right field, giving East its third lead of the game, 11-9. Rainwater singled in Underwood to make it 12-9.