Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bellmont's Macy Montgomery winds up for a pitch during the game against Leo at Leo on Wednesday.
Bellmont’s Paige Busick gets Leo’s Aaliyah Andrews out at second Wednesday. The Braves were still able to prevail, 2-1.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bellmont's Lauren Bleke races towards first after hitting the ball during the game against Leo at Leo on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bellmont players have a meeting during the game against Leo at Leo on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bellmont's Kenzie Fuelling catches a ball in the outfield during the game against Leo at Leo on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Leo's Kennedy Shade races towards first base during the game against Bellmont at Leo on Wednesday.
Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bellmont’s Rylie Velez slides safely back into first base as Leo’s Ellenor Schelm tries to tag her out at Leo High School on Wednesday.
Thursday, May 16, 2019 1:00 am
Bellmont 2, Leo 1
Rare ruling lifts Braves
Leo player singles, fails to go back to base, gets called out
VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette
LEO-CEDARVILLE – When Leo junior Aaliyah Andrews hit a single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and her team trailing 2-1, Lions players and fans screamed in approval as she rounded first base, confident that they could pull off a late rally against Bellmont, win the NE8 regular-season title and stay undefeated.
But just seconds later, Bellmont's players erupted in cheers as the Leo runners stood stunned. Even Bellmont coach Sandy Busick didn't see what had happened, relying on her players to explain how it was that they had gotten the third out, clinched the conference title and improved to 18-0.
“We got the ball back to the pitcher, and she looked both runners down, and it's my understanding that the runner did not go back to the base – you either have to go forward or you have to go backward,” Busick said. “It's a crappy way to lose. It's a rule, and you have to follow the rules, ... but it's just not a rule that's called very often. We're going to take our win, but I'm not going to lie, I feel bad. I would not feel very good about losing that way when they had runners on like that.”
Afterward, Bellmont pitcher Macy Montgomery spoke with Andrews, who singled three times and was hit by a pitch but failed to score a run. The two players have both committed to Indiana.
“We going to play softball together in college, so we're pretty good friends,” Montgomery said. “I just wanted to tell her that everything is going to be OK. It's a tough call, but she played a great game.”
Bellmont took the lead in the top of the first when Montgomery hit an infield single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a single by Tori Miller.
In the second inning, Bellmont's Lauren Bleke singled then moved to second when the catcher had to stand up and scramble to corral a high pitch. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Bellmont put down another bunt as Bleke raced home, putting her team up 2-0.
“We knew we had to play small ball to put the ball in play,” Busick said. “Their hitters go deeper than ours, so we knew that and we expected that. ... We went up there with the attitude that we're putting it in play, even if we make them field the bunt, field the bunt, field the bunt.”
Busick said she was worried Montgomery wouldn't be fresh after pitching five innings against East Noble earlier in the week, but the junior held the Lions (19-1) scoreless until the fourth inning, when Ashley Miller hit a no-doubt home run to cut the deficit to 2-1. Montgomery then issued a walk to Haley Hines, then got two quick outs to escape further damage.
She struck out seven in a complete-game effort, which Busick described as “low for her.”
“But we made the plays,” Busick said. “They had some nice hits, but unfortunately for them, went right at us. We took care of the ball defensively.”
Leo pitcher Mackenzie Rust pitched four innings for Leo before being replaced by Ashley Miller.
“We knew that Leo was going to be our toughest game of the year, and close games, we stepped up to the plate,” Montgomery said.
“It shows that all of our hard work is coming through.”