Whitmer's outstanding pitching leads Butler to victory over Ballard

Whitmer's outstanding pitching leads Butler to victory over Ballard

News

Whitmer's outstanding pitching leads Butler to victory over Ballard

By

Hailey Whitmer had it all working Tuesday evening.

The Butler junior pitched and hit the Bearettes to a decisive 8-1 win at Ballard in a matchup between two of the top softball teams in the state (the Bruins were No. 5 and the Bearettes No. 11 in last week’s Kentucky Prep Softball Top 25 Coaches Poll).

In the circle the right-hander baffled Ballard batters, giving up one earned run on six hits while striking out nine. At the plate, Whitmer went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

“I thought I did pretty good,” Whitmer understated afterward.

Whitmer got off to a slightly shaky start, giving up a one-out triple to Catie Barber then an RBI-double by Skyelar Houston in the bottom of the first, but bottled up the Bruins after that.

“Hailey pitched well,” Butler coach Brittany Braun said. “She gave up a couple hits to begin with, then she kind of settled in and got comfortable and started hitting her spots.”

The Bearettes (15-4-1) took control thanks to the seven-spot they put up in the second inning. Butler, which benefited from a Ballard error to start the second, scored all of its runs with two outs. The Bearettes tied the game on a wild pitch by Ballard starter Shelby Kelley, then took the lead for good on Kayla McCauley’s RBI-single through the left side of the infield. That was the first of five straight hits by Butler.

Whitmer followed with a two-run single to left-centerfield before Faith Harris singled and Annabelle Ramirez doubled. Freshman Marlee Anderson then capped off the Bearettes’ big inning with a two-run single.

“It was kind of like they got excited and realized, ‘Hey we can do this.’ They started hitting and putting it together,” Braun said. “They had a lot more confidence today it seemed like.”

That confidence swelled when senior Alison Bast blasted a high-arcing solo home run to left field to lead off the third.

That was more than enough offense for Whitmer.

“I threw my pitches and hit my spots. All of them were working,” she said.

Ramirez also finished with two hits for Butler, which handed Ballard (19-3-1) its first loss against Kentucky competition.

“This team right now thinks way too much,” Bruins coach Alan Jones said. “Butler’s an excellent team, but if we don’t get hits it affects our defense, and vice versa. And, we have more excuses than the man on the moon instead of just playing ball, and that’s a shame.

“If we made some plays on the defense there (in the second), instead of being 7-1, it most likely would’ve been 3-1. But you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game when you play a good team, and they’re a really good team. Right now we don’t know how to fight like we should. I think being 19-2, thinking we were the best thing since apple pie, which we’re not, (was too much). Right now we’re middle of the road, at best. This loss will tell us one thing, are we ready to come back and start getting better and fight? Or, are we just going to keep making excuses and we’ll be done.”

Sophomore Kristen Klimesh accounted for half of Ballard’s hits with two singles and a double.

Butler (15-4-1) 071 000 0 – 8 10 0

Ballard (19-3-1) 100 000 0 – 1 6 2

WP: Hailey Whitmer (7-3-1). LP: Shelby Kelley. 2B: Catie Barber (Ballard), Annabelle Ramirez (Butler), Whitmer (Butler), Kristen Klimesh (Ballard). 3B: Skyelar Houston (Ballard). HR: Alison Bast (Butler).

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports