Kempner’s Ashley Fucik outdueled Travis’ Rachel Ybarra in a pitchers’ battle as Kempner beat Travis 2-1 in a District 20 6A softball game last Saturday at Kempner.
Both Fucik and Ybarra had shutouts through three innings. In the top of the fourth inning, Travis’ Noemi Cortez lifted a long flyball to left-center field against a strong wind blowing in from centerfield. Kempner centerfielder Star Ferguson, with her back against the fence, made a valiant effort to catch the ball but it went over the fence for a home run, and a 1-0 Travis lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kempner loaded the bases on a single by Fucik, a walk by Samantha (She She) Shelander, and a single by Lauren Hatch. Jasmyne King then hit a ground ball to first base and Emily Camacho made a strong throw to the plate to force the runner out. With one out, Ybarra then struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Bailey Bartlett led off with a single and went to second base on a ground out. Samantha Slater then blasted a double, scoring Bartlett. With two outs, Lauren Hatch singled in Slater with the eventual winning run. Fucik then shut down the Tigers in the last two innings for the win.
“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about anything those two innings. If I overthink things, I don’t pitch very well,” Fucik said.
Fucik allowed just five hits and one run.
“Ashley (Fucik) is doing great. She is handling the pressure of being our number one pitcher. She has taken that spot and is owning it. She is getting better at hitting her spots under pressure. She is getting smarter and more discipline with her pitches in crunch time,” Kempner Coach Amy McLaughlin said.
Kempner starts three freshmen, catcher Bailey Bartlett, third baseman Samantha Shelander, and shortstop Paris Ferguson, and all played significant roles in the win.
“All three made their adjustments at the plate. Paris really battled with that pitcher (Ybarra), and made her work. Bailey adjusted her swing during the game and she really got the head of her bat on the ball on her double in the sixth inning. Shelander caught a line drive for the final out,” Kempner Coach Amy McLaughlin said.
Star Ferguson had three hits for the Cougars, who improved their district record to 4-2. In a scheduling quirk, Kempner plays its next seven games on the road.