(Cover photo credit: Conor Revell)
Assumption’s softball team pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, but couldn’t rally for the win. The Eastern Lady Eagles scored two runs in the top of the eighth to defeat the Rockets 3-1 Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Seventh Region Tournament at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium.
Assumption trailed by one and was down to its last three outs heading to the bottom of the seventh, but freshman Braxton Downs doubled and classmate Lillie Bennett singled her home tie the game 1-1.
But Eastern’s Molly Probus singled with one out in the eighth, took second on an error and scored on Tedi Nunn’s two-out double. Ashley Kelly followed with a double that chased home Nunn to make it 3-1.
“I told them after they tied it to just stay relaxed,” Eastern head coach Dean Taylor said. “I told them to just drive the ball, hit hard line drives and ground balls. A couple of them had been working at it and I told them to keep plugging away and that they were eventually going to find a hole. I’m really proud of the effort.”
The Rockets sent the top of the order to the plate in the bottom of the inning, but Eastern pitcher Olivia Leet recorded three straight fly outs to end the game.
Senior Sabrina Fussenegger started in the circle for Assumption (15-18) and had been in shutdown mode since the third inning, when the Eagles (21-17) took a 1-0 lead.
“I thought we were going to win until the last out that I made when I was up,” Fussenegger said. “We’ve been stepping up all season; we were just unable to string them together. I’m just proud of this team and I was glad to lead them all season.”
Eastern got on the scoreboard in the third when Alana Fullen reached first on an error, Leet singled and Fullen scored on a Probus single.
The Rockets were unable to catch up until Downs doubled to start the seventh and scored from second on Bennett’s two-out single.
Fussenegger went the distance and gave up 10 hits.
Leet also pitched a complete game and held Assumption to five hits.
“She is a battler and has been tough all year long,” Taylor said. “She keeps digging and doesn’t get rattled. She doesn’t get too down and has a great presence in the circle. If they hit the ball, it doesn’t bother her. She keeps digging in and keeps going. She stuck with it.”
Downs was 3 for 3 and Bennet had the Rockets’ other two hits.
“This team has a lot of speed,” Pinkston said. “We had six freshmen play pretty much all season and some sophomores that had just one year under their belt. We are starting to build something and now we have some momentum. A year can make a big difference.”
Fussenegger was glad to be a part of such a young team.
“I love how they played 100 percent this year,” the Bellarmine signee said. “I hope they learned something from me, Kay and Cheyenne. Hopefully this is the start of something great. I want them to take our leadership from us. I’m so glad I got to play with this team.”