By Ashli McLean
Rain or shine, this game was going to get underway. The Sixth and Seventh Region saw softball games postponed from 11:00 am Monday to either Monday evening or Tuesday evening. About 40 minutes before 6:00pm, Mercy Athletic Director Mark Evans said the regional tournament match up between Mercy and Pleasure Ridge Park was going to happen.
And happen it did. The Mercy Jaguars defeated the Pleasure Ridge Park (PRP) Panthers 9-1 in the Sixth Region quarterfinals Monday night at Mercy.
Mercy head coach Greg Meiners stated on the win, “The key factor in us winning was we hit the ball and we executed…when we needed to. Moved runners, put them in scoring position. And of course, our pitcher is hard to stop when she gets one or two runs. One or two, three runs and we’re in good shape.”
Mercy’s senior pitcher Leigh Ellen Thomas didn’t waste any time getting three outs at the top of the first inning. Although PRP sophomore Rebecca Anderson made it to first base (by walk) and attempted to steal twice, that was as far as PRP would get before Thomas closed out the top of the inning in a total of three minutes.
Eighth grader Makenzie Luckett pitched the game for PRP. The lefty senior Jordan Vorbrink was first to bat for Mercy. She hit a grounder roughly four feet away from first base. PRP was unable to retrieve the ball and tag Vorbrink before she safely reached base. She would steal to second base, then third base before sophomore Abbey Wilder’s hit went past second to bring Vorbrink home.
A steal by sophomore Riley McCormick, coupled with catching errors from PRP, brought her home as well. Freshman Lexie Ray hit a fly into the outfield that led to McCormick getting a run.
Mercy led 3-0 going into the second.
PRP was unable to score a run. Mercy was relentless. With two strong hits and a walk, the Jaguars had the bases loaded. Thomas went up to bat and hit a fly. Miscommunication from the PRP outfielders resulted in two more Mercy runners making it home.
The score was now 5-0, Mercy.
With two outs in the top of the third, PRP needed a saving grace. It came from Anderson. She hit the ball out of the park for a home run. Then entire Panthers squad met her at the home plate in celebration. The score was 5-1, and PRP forced three quick outs on Mercy, preventing any Jaguar runs in the bottom of the third.
PRP would not be able to score again, however. The fourth inning saw two more runs from Mercy to take the lead to 7-1. The Jaguars’ final two runs each came in the fifth and sixth innings, the last one resulting from another catching error by PRP.
On the win, Thomas said, “It was a great win for us to start off our regional tournament this year. It was a big win because we’re on a good side of the tournament…We have a good chance of getting the regional championship this year.”
Mercy won 9-1 and will play North Bullitt on Wednesday in the Sixth Region semifinals. Game time is 5:30 at the University of Louisville.