After dropping their season opening series to the Grenadiers, the St. Catharine Lady Patriots (4-2, 4-0 MSC) bounced back in sweeping fashion in their first conference weekend.
If scoring runs had ever been a concern for Head Coach Holly Smith prior to the season beginning, she received a large sigh of relief when the visiting Pikeville Bears (0-2, 0-2 MSC) and Bluefield Rams (0-4, 0-4 MSC) invaded Salt River Electric Field. In game one with the Bears, the Lady Patriots jumped out to an early 7-1 lead after four innings of play, charged by a Tiffany Wickline (Georgetown, Ky.) long ball. However, the Patriots would fall victim to a defensive let down in the top of the fifth when the Bears pounded the ball for 14 runs. “Krystal [Cammuse] had been dominating them on the mound, but just stopped hitting her spots” said Head Coach Holly Smith. “We can’t afford to miss pitches in conference play.” With Cammuse (Frankfort, Ky.) struggling on the mound, Smith went reliever Megan Wolford (Louisville, Ky.) who would never settle in to a comfort zone as she gave up five runs while being unable to retire a batter.
Fortunately for the Patriots, the rest for Cammuse was just what the doctor ordered; Cammuse returned to contest and dominated the three innings of play, by way of 11 strikeouts on the day. With Cammuse firing on all cylinders from the circle, Brittany McKee (Somerset, Ky.) launched a ball over the fence to charge a Patriot rally that would be completed in the bottom of the eight, when the Patriots would push across their 16th run of the contest for a 16-15 victory.
In game two, Tiffany Wickline fanned seven Bear hitters en route to a 9-8 Patriot victory. With the Patriots trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth, the Patriots strung together four straight hits capped off by a Brandi Hood (Bardstown, Ky.) double. The Patriot bat rally pushed across four key runs and propelled them to their second conference victory of the season.
Following a run filled Friday, the Patriots were set for yet another conference battle with the Bluefield College Rams on Saturday. In game one Krystal Cammuse dominated the Ram hitters for the first three innings of play. However, the Rams would find their way around the bases in the fourth as they plated three runs, cutting the Patriot lead to one at 5-4. However, Cammuse would settle right back in, fanning seven hitters on the day and dominating the Ram’s hitters in the final frames. On offense, the Patriots were led by Shelbi Thornhill (Hardinsburg, Ky.) who went three for three on the day with a double and three runs batted in. Cammuse helped her own cause on offense, when she struck gold with a ball hit over the batting cages in left field, propelling the Patriots to an 8-6 victory.
Game two with the Rams produced another comeback victory for the Patriots as they were able to overcome crucial errors to defeat the Rams 12-9. After trailing 8-5 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Patriots were led by the bat of Krystal Cammuse, who launched a ball into the wooded area, propelling the Patriots back in front. On the mound Davelynn Day (Penrose, Col.) snagged the win when she surrendered only one run on one hit, while fanning one Ram hitter and surrendering one walk. Wickline had a much improved outing as she fanned two hitters, while only surrendering four earned runs en route to a no decision.
The Lady Patriots will pack their bags and head to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to compete in the Fast Pitch Dreams Classic for chance at a spring break championship.