Greenwood wins state softball title, completes perfect season

mmaloney@herald-leader.comJune 8, 2013 

Greenwood Advances

Alex Slitz/Daily News Greenwood's Brittany Graham (14) and Greenwood's Sarah Jordan (21) celebrate after their 2013 Rawlings/KHSAA Fast Pitch Softball State Tournament game against South Laurel at Jack C. Fisher Park, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Owensboro, Ky. Greenwood beat South Laurel 7-1.

ALEX SLITZ/DAILY NEWS — Daily News

OWENSBORO — The best team ever.

That's what the numbers indicated Saturday after Greenwood capped the first undefeated season in Kentucky fast-pitch softball history by shutting out Owensboro Catholic 8-0.

The win at Jack C. Fisher Park gave the top-ranked Gators their third Rawlings/KHSAA State Tournament title — the others coming in 2007 and '08 — and completed a 44-0 season.

"Each team's different. ... I'm not going to compare," Coach Penny Reece said of her three state title teams. "It's not fair. They all earned it in their own way and that can never be taken away from them, the state championship."

Greenwood won all five games it played in the double-elimination event, including a 5-3 Saturday morning decision over defending champion Mercy.

No. 6 Owensboro Catholic (33-11), trying for a record sixth state title, emerged from the consolation bracket, needing to beat Greenwood twice.

"I don't know if we could have beat them if we were fresh. We played two 12-inning games and didn't get done until 1:30 last night," Aces Coach George Randolph said. "For us to even be here is a miracle, so I couldn't be more proud of these kids and what they did. ... If you can't win it, runner-up's not bad."

Tournament MVP Elizabeth Moss held Catholic to three singles, including two bunts. The right-hander struck out five, didn't walk a batter and threw 49 of only 69 pitches for strikes.

"It's just unreal," Moss said. "I'm so proud of my team."

Jitters were not a problem coming into the final game.

"Of course you're going to be a little nervous," Moss said. "But I think we were more excited and ready than nervous this time."

The Gators gave her plenty of support with a three-run third inning, a run in the fourth and two-spots in the fifth and sixth.

Emily Gravette's RBI double opened the scoring, and Angela Adkins' two-run double quickly made it 3-0.

Gravette, Adkins, Raley Slone, Katelyn Merritt, Brittany Graham and Ainsley Crawford each had two of Greenwood's 12 hits.

Did the Gators dream of perfection before the season?

"I don't know. Do you ever really dream that big?" Reece said. "That's huge. Because we don't play a shabby schedule. ... It's just amazing. A perfect season. It couldn't have been any better.

"The thing with this team: a total team effort. You don't have one or two stars; you've got a total team effort all the way up and down that lineup. You have to, because there's going to be times when the top's not hitting and the bottom's got to pick you up. ... Dream big, I guess."

So, best team ever?

"We won," Moss said. "I don't know how else to say it."

■ Owensboro Catholic ousted No. 13 Boyle County in the consolation bracket semifinals, 4-3 in 12 innings. The Aces then dispatched No. 3 Mercy 9-8.

Boyle County (33-10) reached the Final Four with a 5-2 victory over No. 2 Lone Oak in a game that ended Saturday just past 1 a.m. EDT. Abbie Chadwell's two-run homer highlighted a four-run first inning, and Hannah Miniard pitched the distance, yielding seven hits.

Against Catholic, Boyle rallied from a 2-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth.

The Aces took a 3-2 lead with a run in the 11th, but Boyle again battled back to tie on Madi DeBord's double.

Lillie Goetz led off the top of the 12th with a home run to right-center field, though, and Boyle went down in order to end the game.

"It started yesterday," Coach Brian Deem said of Boyle's ability to battle back. "We had a hard-fought game with Mercy that we lost, and those kids played literally three games back-to-back-to-back last night and came out this morning and played basically two games in one.

"My kids have the heart of champions and they played their hearts out. So it's just unfortunate we didn't get the win, but I'm proud of my girls."

Miniard again went the distance, striking out 13 while allowing nine hits.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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