Bats stall for 'Cats and fall short of WCWS

Eric Decker4 months

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Aritcle written by:Eric DeckerEric Decker

Edecker17

softball 5:12
<small>(UK Athletics | Chris Shoals)<small>
[caption id="attachment_351925" align="aligncenter" width="767"] (UK Athletics | Chris Shoals)[/caption] The best hitting team in the SEC just couldn't get one when they needed it the most on Saturday. "I was proud of their approach, immediately we start to put people on base we just couldn't really advance them like we wanted to or if we did advance them we couldn't come up with the timely hit," Coach Rachel Lawson said following the loss. "That was tough, I have to say." The 'Cats were looking to come back almost immediately after the first pitch in their 4-1 loss to the Crimson Tide in game two of the Super Regionals as the first four Alabama batters reached safely including the two-run double from Kaylee Tow that gave them the initial lead. As it would be for the rest of the day, Kentucky's defense kept them competitive with a double - nearly triple - play that helped maneuver them out of the first inning jam. Grace Baalman took the circle in game two following the complete game performance from Autumn Humes the night before and struggled against one of the better teams in the nation. The senior only lasted 3.1 IP, giving up four earned runs and four walks while allowing five hits. The last was a two-run bomb off the bat of Maddie Morgan that chased Baalman out of the game and make it 4-1. "For this team I'm incredibly proud of them and the resiliency... We were such an unknown and other than the pride and everything I believe we were the only people who believed we could've ended up in Tuscaloosa and play Alabama this close," Lawson said. "I don't think anyone in the country would've given us a shot at the beginning of the year." Despite getting some runs off one of the best pitchers in the country yesterday in Montana Fouts, the Wildcat offense struggled to really capitalize on anything against Lexi Kilfoyl, who ended up going for the complete game. The 'Cats had multiple innings where they had multiple players in scoring position, but were only able to get one run off of a broken fielders choice grounder that allowed Vanessa Nesby to cross home. This outing very easily could have resulted in zero runs for the Wildcats. [embed]https://twitter.com/UKsoftball/status/1398713752728518659?s=20[/embed] Kentucky only recorded one hit after the third inning, an infield single off a bunt from Kayla Kowalik. The single happened to be Kowalik's 100th hit of the season, the first time a Wildcat has ever reached that mark in a single season. The milestone of course would be a bit more celebratory had the rest of the offense not gone silent in the elimination game. "I didn't realize she had her 100th hit tonight, so that is really cool," Lawson said. "I still contend she's not the best leadoff batter in the country, but certainly there's not going to be one a lot better than her." Disappointment from today is totally expected. Kentucky took two out of three from Alabama back in March but just fell on some hard luck when it came to this weekend. That shouldn't necessarily cloud the overall success that the team had this season, though. The Wildcats ended with a 43-16 record, reaching the Super Regional for the fourth straight season and started off the year winning their entire pre-conference schedule for the first time in school history. Not to mention they plan to bring back a significant amount of their lineup to make a run next season at the WCWS.

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