Lady Rockets take third at Ballard Inv.

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By Todd Martin

The SCHS softball team went 3-1 at the Ballard Invitational Tournament over the weekend to finish in third place.

The girls finished pool play 3-0 with wins over Fern Creek, Anderson County and Butler, but fell to Anderson in the semifinals to finish in third.

In the opener, the Lady Rockets drilled Fern Creek 11-0 in four innings. Shelby pounded out 10 hits, including three from Jessica Williams and two from Haleigh LeCompte, and seven different players recorded RBIs.

LeCompte scattered four hits and recorded two strikeouts to get the win for the Lady Rockets.

"We really hit the ball well up and down the line-up," SCHS head coach Kelly Cable said. "I thought we played very well."

In the second game the girls gritted out a 1-0 win over district and region rival Anderson County. Dee Dee Davis' two-out triple in the fifth scored Farren Holland for the game's only run. Davis had both of the hits for the Lady Rockets.

"She really smashed it," Cable said of Davis' triple. "But what was even more impressive was her first at bat. She fouled off about 10 pitches before finally getting a single. She really battled and played well the whole game."

However, this win came at a price.

LeCompte was struck on the wrist in the game, and although she finished out the win, she was forced out of the rest of the tournament. Her status is still uncertain as the injury is evaluated.

"It was pretty awesome the way she stayed in," Cable said. "She had an unbelievable game, and even though she was hurting she wasn't going to come out."

LeCompte was hit in the fourth, but pitched two scoreless innings afterward. In the sixth and final inning she pitched out of a one-out bases-loaded jam, recording her fifth strikeout and forcing the final Anderson batter to ground out.

"We told the girls after the game that it wasn't who we played or who we beat, but how we won," Cable said. "We kept battling and battling until we scratched out a run. That last inning was incredible. Haleigh was really hurting, but our defense stepped up and she was fantastic."

Without LeCompte, the Lady Rockets continued to march on.

The girls responded to their ace being injured by whipping Butler 4-1 on 10 hits. Davis stayed hot, going 2-4 with a run scored, and Jessica Williams was 3-4. Taylor Shaw did the most damage with a bases-loaded three-run double in the third.

Kristina Gramig picked up where LeCompte left off, allowing just one run and three hits while striking out two in six innings.

"For her first varsity game, I was very proud," Cable said. "She showed a lot of poise. We easily could've folded up after losing Haleigh, but the girls got behind Kristina and hit the ball well."

In the semifinals, the Lady Rockets had to again face Anderson County. This time the Lady Bearcats proved to be a little too much, topping Shelby County 7-0. The Lady Rockets had just three hits -- one each from Hannah Stucker, Williams and Holland.

"I expected us to play better in that last game, but I was pleased with the tournament as a whole," Cable said. "We knew the games would be tough, and they were. That's why we scheduled this tournament. Overall, I was very pleased with our play."

Now the Lady Rockets will wait and see on LeCompte's injury, but Cable is optimistic.

"I'm very confident in my pitchers' abilities to throw strikes," she said. "Between Kristina, Stucker and Desiree (Kremer) we have pitchers that can get us wins. But our defense has to be strong and we have to produce at the plate. That's what we didn't do in that last game. But I'm very confident that our pitchers can step in and play."

One bright spot for the Lady Rockets is the schedule. The girls were scheduled to face Eminence last night, but will be off until April 11 when they head to the Owensboro Catholic Sports Warehouse Classic.

"We'll hope for the best, but maybe this can help us be more focused on our defense and force us to be better at the plate," Cable said. "Hopefully we'll get Haleigh back soon, and this can make us a stronger team."