E-Gals edge Lady Aces

The Apollo High School softball team scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning to seize an early lead before holding off Owensboro Catholic for a 4-3 district win Thursday night at E-Gal Park.

It was the seventh consecutive victory for Apollo (13-9, 3-3 9th District).

“I thought we played pretty well,” E-Gals coach Stephen Julian said afterward. “We made a few mistakes — some balls we should’ve caught but didn’t — but the pitchers threw well enough. Hannah (Holder) started and did great, and then Mollie (Julian) did great when she came in and closed it out. I was very pleased with them.

“Overall, I liked our energy. It was a good win.”

The E-Gals got a lift in the second frame when they loaded the bases with one out, sparked by Macy Calhoun’s leadoff base hit. Mallory Velotta’s RBI groundout three batters later drove in Calhoun, followed by Taylor Clark’s two-run single to left field that left Apollo with a 3-0 advantage.

“It’s always fun to score early,” Stephen Julian added. “It gets people relaxed a little bit and changes the game for both teams if you get an early lead.”

The Lady Aces (13-10, 3-3) answered with two runs in the top of the third inning, powered by Hannah Robbins’s two-RBI base hit to center field. Despite Catholic loading the bases with one out on the board, Apollo’s defense forced two quick outs to maintain its lead.

Hall led off the bottom of the third frame with a double, moved to third base on Liza Page’s sacrifice bunt and then scored on Calhoun’s sacrifice fly to push Apollo’s lead to 4-2.

Not to be outdone, Catholic’s Lily Logsdon led off the top of the fourth inning with a triple and then scored on Gracie Dukate’s RBI groundout — but the Lady Aces were unable to manufacture any more runs. Catholic made one last push in the top of the seventh, spurred by Dukate’s leadoff double and Maci Merritt’s sacrifice bunt, but Apollo forced two flyouts to end the game.

“When you get in a district game and it’s two teams that know each other, it comes down to who makes the plays,” said Lady Aces coach Jeremy Phelps. “They made more plays than we did tonight, so that was the whole difference. We had a chance to make some plays, but they got some timely hits, and we made some mistakes that they capitalized on.”

In the circle, Holder got the win after giving up three earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks in four innings. Mollie Julian struck out four batters and allowed only one hit in three innings of relief work.

“We’ve played a tough schedule, and I think that helped us,” Stephen Julian said. “We played a lot of tough teams early. That helped us built that confidence, like, ‘Hey, we can compete with anybody we’re playing out here.’ ”

Both teams will return to action in the Owensboro Catholic Classic, which is expected to bring around 20 teams to Jack C. Fisher Park on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve got a bunch of teams coming, like Apollo, Christian County, Henderson County, Meade County,” Phelps said. “To be able to get a competition that you can’t play because of distance is good for the girls. It lets us meet somebody different and see how everybody’s playing.”

OWENSBORO CATHOLIC 002 100 0 — 3 5 1

APOLLO 031 000 x — 4 8 0

WP-Holder. LP-Riney. 2B-Velotta, Hall (A), Dukate, Riney (OC). 3B-Logsdon (OC).