Butler defeats Holy Cross, advances to Sixth Region semis

By: Conor Revell – The Holy Cross softball team won’t have a chance to repeat as Sixth Region champions.

No. 13 Butler defeated the visiting 12th-ranked Cougars 2-1 at Shively Park Monday to advance to the Sixth Region semifinals.

“We didn’t respond well from losing to PRP,” Holy Cross head coach Tony Young said. “We didn’t hit again. It has been the same thing that has let us down all year long. We’ve got the best pitcher (Kameron Bowling) in the city and there were too many games where we didn’t hit. We lose because we don’t hit.”

The Bearettes (23-10) avenged a stinging 6-0 loss to Holy Cross (24-13) that ended their season last year in the Sixth Region semifinals at Ulmer Stadium.

“The first thing my girls said when we saw the draw was that we wanted redemption from them last year,” Butler head coach Brittany Braun said. “They just kind of rolled with it and nothing else was really said. They were ready to play.”

With the score tied at one in the bottom of the sixth inning, Faith Harris broke the tie with a bloop two-out RBI single.

“I got my bat on it,” Harris said. “It was a dinker but bloop hits are good hits.”

Holy Cross attacked Butler starting pitcher Annabelle Ramirez early and went up 1-0 in the first inning. Maddi Gailor singled, stole second, and moved to third on Jennifer Peffley’s base hit.

Ally Klein then dropped down a bunt and Gailor was thrown out trying to go home. Peffley was safe at third and Klein made it to first.

Dakota Young’s sacrifice fly scored Peffley to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Ramirez only pitched two innings and allowed one run, three hits, struck out two, and walked one.

“We have done that a lot this season,” Braun said. “We will throw one against the batting order once and then bring the other on in. It was a rotation that we had planned. They hit the ball against Annabelle but it was planned.”

Hailey Whitmer replaced Ramirez and threw a five inning gem and allowed only two hits, struck out two, and walked one.

“I was hitting my spot,” Whitmer said. “I had to rely on my defense. I knew that Holy Cross was going to come out and put the ball in play. I just had to rely on my defense to get it done.”

Butler didn’t tie it at one until the fourth inning when Whitmer singled and Annabelle Walker replaced her as a courtesy runner. Walker moved to second on Ramirez’s sacrifice bunt and stole third.

Harris tied the game with an RBI base hit scoring Walker.

“Faith is a senior and stepped up,” Braun said. “She’s a senior and a great leader on this team. I can’t imagine anybody better.”

Kameron Bowling did her part to keep the Cougars in the game and threw a complete game and allowed two runs, five hits, struck out eight, and walked one.

“I stayed within myself today,” Bowling said. “I didn’t let things rattle me much. I had confidence in my team. I didn’t overthink things and I went out and threw. Against PRP I had overwhelmed myself and let the moment get to me. Today, I didn’t let that happen.”

The Cougars did threaten in the seventh inning. Amber Kaufman singled. Bowling came in for Savannah Maupin to hit with one out but her bunt popped out into foul territory for the second out.

“I sub Kameron in at that position all day long,” Tony Young said. Kameron is a great bunter. It’s a game of failures and you’re going to make mistakes. At the end of the day no one is going to go out there and be perfect. Kameron can beat me up earlier the game for me not sending Kailey Reed to score in the second inning. We didn’t know the ball was going to skip away, she would have scored easily. But at the time I thought I had made the right call.”

Kadi Weaver then singled to put two on with two outs. Braun came out to talk to Whitmer and her defense and she got Gailor to fly out to end the game.

“Coach just told us to calm down,” Whitmer said. “She said that we had the game and that we needed to take a breather. She told us we had two outs and all we needed to do was get one out. She had faith that we could get that one out.”

Butler advances to the Sixth Region semifinals and will play No. 19 Bullitt East at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium.

Other Sixth Region scores

Bullitt East 17, North Bullitt 1 (five innings)

Pleasure Ridge Park 12, Southern 0 (five innings)

Mercy 15, Doss 0 (three innings)

Wednesday’s schedule at the University of Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium

Bullitt East vs. Butler, 5:30 p.m.

Mercy vs. Pleasure Ridge Park, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday: Championship, 7:30 p.m.