Hot Start Fuels Male in 11-1 Win over Ballard

It’s not supposed to be this easy. Male is just making it look that way.

The top-ranked Bulldogs scored five runs in the first, five more in the second, and cruised to an 11-1 win over No. 13 Ballard Tuesday night.

“I thought we swung the bat well,” said Male head coach Josh Bloomer. “We came out in the first inning like we’ve done all year and put some runs on the board and had some good at-bats.

“When you put up ten, you’re not going to lose. Our pitchers aren’t going to give up ten runs. I was actually most pleased when we scored five (in the second inning) because our pitchers aren’t going to give up five. We’ve given up five once this year. At that point, it’s easy to just roll through the motions, and we didn’t. We kept competing.”

For the Bulldogs, it’s their tenth win in eleven contests against the Bruins dating back to 2013. The lone loss came in last year’s 7th Region final.

“It feels really good anytime we win. It’s really nice to get back at Ballard after they beat us last year,” said Male sophomore Megan Konermann.

Konermann put Male ahead 2-0 just two batters into the game with a two-run homer to left field. Three batters later, Megan Lenhart launched a three-run shot over the wall in left-center to give Male a 5-0 lead.

Ballard (19-6) scored its lone run in the bottom half of the first when Allie Skaggs hit a double to score Emory Donaldson to make it 5-1.

But Male’s bats stayed hot in the second inning. Lilly Davis knocked in two runs with a triple to the gap in right center. Lauren Pelton tacked on two more with a double. By the end of the second, the Bulldogs built a 10-1 lead.

“We’re locked in,” said Bloomer. “We’ve really been challenging them about not competing against the scoreboard, but instead competing to be better.”

“They’re an unbelievable team,” said Ballard head coach Alan Jones. “Probably one of the best I’ve seen in Kentucky. We’re very young, but that’s no excuse. They’re just a better team.

“Nobody is going to beat them. They’re head over heels over everybody.”

At 21-0, talk of perfection starts to creep in when discussing the Bulldogs. Only once in the history of Kentucky fast-pitch softball has a team finished the season unbeaten. Greenwood accomplished the feat in 2014.

Could Male become the second? While that’s still to be determined, the team won’t shy away from the talk.

“We want to go undefeated,” said Bloomer. “We’re not afraid to talk about it. We walk out every single game expecting to put ourselves in a good position to have a chance to win. If the other team makes more plays than us and beats us, then we’ll tip our hat to them. I don’t believe in ‘we need a loss going into the postseason.’ I can learn just as much from a win as a loss.
“Is that our goal? No. Our ultimate goal is to put ourselves in a position to win a regional, try to get ourselves to Lexington and potentially win a state championship.”

Male looks to stay undefeated Wednesday night at home versus Bullitt East while Ballard hosts Assumption.