Prep softball: Intentional walk backfires on Ripley against South Charleston
South Charleston standout pitcher Alli Burdette's resume speaks for itself and the Ripley softball team paid the ultimate respect to the Black Eagles senior on Thursday night.
Burdette, who will play next season at Division I Elon University, was a first-team All-State selection as a junior after having a 0.78 earned run average and a .397 batting average.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, it didn't pay off and ended up costing Ripley a 1-0 road loss to South Charleston (8-6).
Ripley (9-3) pitcher Chelsey Hager deserved a better fate after having a no-hitter against the Black Eagles with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in a scoreless game.
Vikings Coach Kenny Swisher went out to have a meeting at the mound with his junior hurler, and they elected to pitch around Burdette, also SC's top hitter.
It resulted in Hager throwing four balls out of the strike zone, putting the Black Eagles slugger on first.
The next SC hitter, freshman Emily Bostic, laced a hard-hit single that dropped just ahead of Ripley center fielder Montana Kershner.
The ball took a bad hop getting by Kershner, allowing pinch-runner Olivia Orcutt to race all the way home.
Swisher couldn't have been more proud of Hager's performance and defended the decision to pitch around Burdette leading to Bostic's game-winner.
"Chelsey pitched excellent and had a no-hitter," Swisher said. "I think we played it the way you are suppose to play it. There are no regrets. We were in it and played well. I'm real pleased with our showing."
Bostic was ecstatic to be able to deliver for her team.
"Every close game comes down to a crucial bounce or play," she said. "This time it was the bounce. The ball kicked sideways on her just enough to get by her to let that run."
"It was very exciting. I knew we needed it. I did for the team. Coach told me I could do it. After I knew I had two strikes, I had to put it in play, and I got the hit."
SC Coach Bobby Catlett felt fortunate to be able to get the victory.
"It's a win, and daggone we will take it," Catlett said. "In a game like this, you knew it would be who made the unfortunate error. Fortunately for us, it was on the other end this time. We have been on the other end, several times."
Catlett had complete confidence in Bostic despite being just a freshman.
"I told Alli with her at bat, we knew she wasn't going to get anything to hit," Catlett said. "They respect her bat, She was patient enough and understood the situation and had the confidence in Emily behind her. It paid off for us.
"Emily is a young freshman but swings the bat really well. I told her that is why she is in this spot. I have total confidence in her. If it wasn't for Alli, she would be my four hitter. She is clutch and came through."
Burdette and Hager were both dominant on the mound, matching each other pitch for pitch. The SC hurler gave up just four hits and struck out 14, while Hager struck out 10.
"Ripley is a good team and I knew I had to be tough and make sure I was on tonight," Burdette said. "I'm use to tight games and low scoring games. You have to know how to handle them."