Rockets defeat Valkyries to advance to Seventh Region semis

By: Jeff Woods Assumption’s victory Monday accomplished two goals. First, the Rockets advance to the Seventh Region semifinals and they knocked out their archrival in the process.

Fueled by a three-run sixth inning rally, the Rockets defeated Sacred Heart 6-4 in the first round of the Seventh Region Softball Tournament.

“We knew this was going to be a battle going into this game,” Assumption head coach Lisa Pinkston said. “Our teams, player-for-player, are very similar in talent. The Sacred Heart vs. Assumption rivalry has always been a big thing. But at the end of the day, it’s just about coming out and getting the job done and with timely hitting we came out on top.”

The Rockets (12-19) did their damage with their backs against the wall. All of Assumption’s scoring came with two outs, including Sydney Young’s two-RBI double in the sixth inning that put the Rockets ahead for good.

“Being down at the beginning and then coming back together as a team, it feels pretty good,” said Young, who went 3-for-4 on the day.

“Sydney has been solid for us all season,” said Pinkston. “We put her in those pressure situations all season. It just came down to timely hitting. We had runners on base in scoring position and she was able to get the job done.”

Both teams wasted little time getting on the board. The Valkyries (15-15) led 2-1 after the first inning and Assumption quickly responded in the second to the game 2-2. It stayed that way until the bottom of the 4th inning when senior Emma Burnett hit a two-RBI single to put the Valkyries back on top 4-2. Assumption (12-19) added one in fifth inning before Young’s go-ahead double in the sixth inning.

“I would say the hitting with two outs really hurt us,” said Sacred Heart head coach Bob Wheatley. “You’re almost there and out of the inning and next thing you know somebody walks or gets a single and then somebody rips a double. You’re almost clean in the inning and then all of a sudden, they get one or two.

“We finished 15-15 after finishing 9-19 the year before. We had to find a lot of players. We lost our catcher and starting left fielder about halfway into the season so we had to convert people and move them around, but no excuses. These kids have a lot of battle in them. I’m proud of my team today.”

Assumption returns to the field Tuesday in the 7th Region semifinals against Ballard at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Louisville.

“This is what we worked for all season,” said Pinkston. “At this point moving forward, these games are up for anyone to grab. We’re going to make a run at it and give it our best shot.”

Other Seventh Region scores

Ballard 12, Presentation 0

Male 15, Atherton 0

Manual 2, Eastern 1

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

Assumption vs. Ballard, 5:30 p.m.

Male vs. Manual, 7:30 p.m.