MOUNT CARMEL -- Anytime you can get a win in Big Eight action, it's a good day for a Mount Carmel Athletics program. A blowout victory though, even sweeter.
Mount Carmel's softball team defeated conference foe Washington 10-0 on Tuesday evening at Don Liddle Ballpark, defeating the Hatchets in six innings in a solid bounce back performance for the Lady Aces.
Mount Carmel jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first inning, as sophomore Faith Fuller knocked in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly to left field, which the Washington left fielder made an incredible diving stop on to rob Fuller of a hit. It would be their lone run for the next three innings, setting the stage for an outburst of an inning.
"Yeah, we started off a little slow with the bats," Mount Carmel head softball coach Kyle Buss said. "We faced a girl yesterday that probably threw a 20-mile per hour faster than the girl we faced today. It took a little while to adjust to the slower pitching, but once we got through the lineup, second, third time, we started to put the bat on the ball and make them make mistakes."
Fuller was on the mound for the Lady Aces and pitched a gem of an outing. She gave Washington (0-9) hitters fits all day long and allowed just two baserunners the entire game. Her fielders were exceptional around her as well, cleanly fielding balls in play and making some nice putouts.
"When she's at her best she's pumping strikes in there and being aggressive," Buss spoke of Fuller. "Our defense has come a long, long way since the beginning of the year. I think she's beginning to trust them more and more. She realizes she doesn't have to strike out every batter, just hammer the strike zone, let them put the ball in play and let them go to work."
The fourth inning was devastating for the Hatchets, but an incredible sight for fans of the Lady Aces. After two consecutive scoreless innings, they exploded for eight runs, with freshman Maleah Armstrong, freshman Stormie Devine, freshman Kami Pearson, sophomore Sierra Hannah, junior Libby Schneider and freshman Olivia Stinson all picking up RBIs in the inning.
As her offense excelled, Fuller continued to do the same, blanking the Hatchet bats as she went for a complete game.
Needing just one more run to run rule Washington, junior Lexi Ballard was summoned to pinch hit with runners on and came through with the walk-off hit, giving the Lady Aces a 10-0 victory.
Fuller finished with a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits in the six frames of work and fanning seven batters in the process.
The Mount Carmel bats were highlighted by Pearson's 2-for-4, two RBI day and Fuller's 1-for-3, with a pair of RBIs performance. A total of 10 Lady Ace hitters registered hits in the game. Buss said his ladies did a tremendous job of hitting balls into gaps in the defense and they showed incredible patience at the plate especially in the fourth inning, waiting for a pitch to hit.
"The biggest thing we've been preaching is to hit the ball in the middle of the field, because when we're at our best we're hitting the ball up the middle or to the right side," Buss said. "When we're pulling the ball all the time that's when we hit lazy balls to third or lazy fly balls to left [field]. We just did a lot better of a job of letting the ball get to the plate, not jumping out at it, letting it get all the way there and then driving the ball back through the middle."
Despite some recent results against Big Eight foes, Buss does feel his team is playing good softball right now and will be a tough out in regionals next week. Notably, Mount Carmel ends with a 2-4 record in Big Eight play, their final season in the Indiana based conference.
"When you play teams like Vincennes, Jasper, Boonville and Mount Vernon, those are some really, really good southern Indiana teams," Buss said. "Maybe not judging by the scores, but we've put together some good at bats, our defense has been there, we're not committing errors, things like that. So wins and losses maybe not, but we're playing pretty well."
Mount Carmel (8-9) was slated to play against Fairfield on Wednesday, but as of now that game is no longer on course to happen. They will potentially host Edwards County on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., weather permitting of course.
"It's nice, we like to play here and play in front of our home crowd," Buss spoke of ending the season at home. "It gives the girls a little extra boost. We were supposed to play Thursday but it looks like there might be some rain. If this was our last home game, it was a great game to go out on. We'll go to practice hard the next few days and getting ready for regionals next week."
W -- 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0
MC -- 1 0 0 8 0 1 -- 10
Mount Carmel notable hitting: Pearson 2-for-4, two RBIs. Hannah 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R. Schneider 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, R. Drone 2-for-2, R. Devine 1-for-4, R. Fuller 1-for-3, 2 RBIs. Daum 1-for-4, R. Armstrong 1-for-2, RBI, R. Ballard 1-for-1, RBI.
Lady Ace pitching: WP -- Fuller 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 K.