Western Hills’ softball team stayed with Sacred Heart Academy until the final out Thursday at WHHS.
The two teams were tied through four innings but the Valkyries, ranked 19th in the state, scored two runs in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead.
Sacred Heart (20-9) added two more in the fifth for a 5-1 advantage.
“We had a chance to win,” WHHS coach Jeff Pritchett said. “That’s a quality team, a well-coached team.
“We hit the ball and forced them to make plays, but we were looking for that breakout hit, a well-hit ball, the type of hit that puts them against the wall.”
Sacred Heart opened the scoring in the second inning on an error, a single by Claire Ely and a fielder’s choice.
The Lady Wolverines (8-17) tied the game in the bottom of the second, scoring a run with a walk, an error and singles from Mackenzee Sawyer and Destiny Hyatt.
The score stayed 1-1 until the fourth inning when Sacred Heart scored twice with a single by Krista Sutherland, a double by Shayna Liebman, a sacrifice bunt and an error.
The Valkyries tacked on two in the fifth inning with singles by K.J. Holden, Melody Gayheart and Ely and a hit batsman.
WHHS got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Torey Hawkins hit a one-out double. Shelby McDonald, running for Hawkins, took third on a groundout by Taylor Slade and scored when LaKenzie Ritchie reached on an error.
WHHS threatened in the bottom of the seventh. Hyatt led off with a walk and was forced out at second when Meghan Yount hit into a fielder’s choice.
Hawkins came through with a single, sending Yount to second base.
After a popup for the second out, Ritchie popped up to second base. The ball was dropped, and Pritchett sent Yount home. In a close play at the plate, Yount was called out for the third out of the inning.
“When a team makes a mistake they usually drop their heads,” Pritchett said. “My runner was going full speed, and Meghan has speed. It was a close play.
“As a coach sometimes you look back and wish you had a chance to do it over, but you don’t. Coaches don’t, players don’t, umpires don’t.”
Hawkins was the Lady Wolverines’ starting pitcher and pitched into the fifth inning before being relieved by Slade.
“Torey did a great job early on,” Pritchett said, “and Taylor came on and pitched well. They complemented each other very well today.”
Hawkins led WHHS with a double and two singles, and Hyatt, Slade, Sawyer and Ritchie each had a base hit.
Sacred Heart’s hits were two singles from Ely, a double by Liebman and base hits from Caroline Culver, Holden and Sutherland. Allison Woosley pitched for the Valkyries.
Western Hills plays two games Saturday at Henry County, taking on Fern Creek and Henry County.