BARDWELL -- After getting bounced by Murray in the All "A" Classic regional finals a year ago, the Lady Rockets of Carlisle County didn't want to feel the sting again.
And they didn't on Wednesday night, picking up 16 hits and a total 10 runs in the first three innings en route to an 11-3 victory over the Lady Tigers on their home field to advance into tonight's All "A" title game for a second-straight season.
"We're taking this as a bicycle race, and it's one stage at a time," Carlisle skipper Kevin Burgess said after the win. "They were the defending champs. And our last words were 'remember what happened last year.'
"And I think that hit with them. They came out focused and ready to play."
It was a scintillating start, as singles from Maddie Martin and Brittany Morris helped catapult the Lady Comets right out of the gate. One of two doubles from Makena Edging quickly made it 3-0 before Payton Ballard's two-run single had Murray in a quick hole.
In the third inning, Julie Jackson's RBI single made it 7-1 before the two-out hitting took over as Taylor Owens doubled for an 8-1 lead, Martin singled again to cause trouble and Morris singled in two for a 10-1 lead.
Morris, the stalwart at shortstop, then personally thwarted a Murray run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Alexis Burpo singled, Brittany Tipton was hit by a pitch from Allie Blackwell, and Emily Dawson roped a two-run double to cut it to 10-3.
A diving catch on a shallow pop from Kyra Schutt and a leaping grab of a sure Makenzie Turley RBI double all but closed the game for the Lady Tigers.
"The thing that we did tonight that we hadn't done the last few games? We caught the ball," Burgess added. "We went to Florida to play better teams to do that, and we had 17 errors in four games.
"If we hit it and catch it, though, we can beat nearly anybody in the region."
Carlisle Co. 514 001 0 11 16 1
Murray 010 200 0 3 8 2
WP: Blackwell, LP: Carver
2B: CAR-Edging 2, Martin, Jackson, Henderson, Owens, MUR-Tipton, Turley; 3B: none, HR: none
Top Hitters: CAR-Martin 4-5 (3 R), Morris 2-5 (2 RBI), Edging 3-4 (2 R, 2 RBI), Ballard 2-4 (3 RBI), Jackson 2-4 (RBI, R), MUR-Burpo 3-3 (2 R), Schutt 2-4
Records: Carlisle County 4-8, Murray 4-12.
Lady Bombers surge into All 'A' title game
An early jump on ace pitcher Gracie Lusk and a big fifth inning pushed Ballard Memorial back into the First Region All "A" Championship, as the Lady Bombers soared over Hickman County 10-2 in Bardwell.
Holding a tenuous 3-1 lead after two innings, Anessa Green doubled, Leah Shelley reached on error to score a run and pitcher Shelby Hawes helped her own cause with an RBI double to make it 5-1. Madison Nichols made it 6-1 with a fielder's choice and would later hit a two-run triple in the top of the fifth inning for a convincing 9-2 advantage.
"First year coaching, this is great," Lady Bombers head coach Danny Leidecker said after the win. "This was one of our goals is making it back to the championship game. Our goal is to win it, of course, and I'm sure that's Carlisle's goal. They'll work hard to win it, and we'll work hard to win it, too.
"It feels real good to be back."
An RBI triple from Liv Andrews in the first inning and a solo home run for Lusk in the bottom of the third inning would be all the Lady Falcons could muster against Hawes.
Tonight's championship is set for 6 o'clock at Carlisle County High School. The winner advances to the All "A" Classic State Tournament the last week of April at Jack Fisher Park in Owensboro.
Ballard Memorial 123 040 0 10 10 1
Hickman Co. 101 000 0 2 2 2
WP: Hawes, LP: Lusk
2B: BM-Newton, Hawes, Green; 3B: HC-Andrews, BM-Calvin, Nichols; HR: HC-Lusk
Top Hitters: BM-Newton 3-4 (2 RBI), Nichols 2-4 (3 RBI),Fields 2-4
Records: Ballard Memorial 11-4-1, Hickman County 4-6.
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