BALLWIN -- The Kelly Lady Hawks' 22nd win of the season has landed them a spot in the 2008 Class 2 State Tournament. The Lady Hawks won their bid to the coveted tourney by defeating the Fatima Lady Comets 7-1 in front of a packed crowd at the Ballwin Athletic Association on Saturday afternoon.
Kelly jumped on top in the second inning as an error by the Fatima third baseman allowed Casey Kern to reach safely. Back-to-back singles by Danielle Dock and Heather Beggs set-up a bases loaded opportunity for Brittany Brantley in which she quickly lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Kern from third.
Fatima put up their first number on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning as Rachel Kleffner scored on an RBI single by Angie Hagenhoff.
Three insurance runs were tacked on in the sixth inning for the Lady Hawks as Beggs, Brantley and Jessica Riley all three scored. Riley had an RBI single to bring in the first run, Lana Whitworth a single to score the second and Moore a sacrifice fly to score the third and final run of the inning.
Dock's stat line for the day was one earned run off of four hits and six walks. She struck out eight in the victory. She was happy for the win but said that nerves played a factor in the quarterfinal contest.
"It wasn't my greatest game," said Dock following the victory. "But, my team did awesome behind me. They played great defense and made great plays."
Dock commented on two great plays made by her defense. One, a diving catch made by left fielder Beggs where the outfield grass and infield dirt meet up, and another, made by Glastetter to end a bases loaded threat.
"Now I've got to get ready for State," she added. "I've got to make sure I get more focused. I wasn't doing that the first few innings and was thinking about the next batter. I just had to settle down and start throwing strikes."
As for the head coaches' thoughts on her winning pitcher, Rhonda Ratledge thought her starter performed well in such a tough game.
"We had a couple of rocky first innings," said Ratledge. "Danielle (Dock) was nervous as all get-out. She had quite a few walks, but after we scored a couple more runs she just mowed them down. That's what we've got to do is work on those nerves with her. This is a big opportunity for her to throw and she's just a junior."
Ratledge said that this is one of the best records that she can remember with the Lady Hawks. Kelly, now 22-4 on the season, saw spectacular play up-and-down the lineup on Saturday against a difficult Fatima team.
"Gosh, to come out and win a quarterfinal game 7-1," said Ratledge. "They got on the bags several innings, but we kept them from crossing home plate. Of course that's what counts."
"I've got a good hitting crew all the way up-and-down and a good bunting crew all the way up-and-down," she added. "It doesn't matter what spot in the lineup you are, you're either going to hit or you're going to bunt, but you've got to be able to do both because situations arise where you've got to play small ball. We played small ball here and it won us the ballgame."
Ratledge said that not too many of the Lady Hawks' hits that plated runs landed in the outfield grass, but more so came on sacrifice bunts and situational hitting.
Offensively for Kelly, Backfisch had the hottest stick on the day as she went 3-for-4 with three singles and a run scored. Moore finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs on a double and Glastetter 2-for-4 with two singles and a run scored.
Dock, Beggs and Whitworth each had an RBI single, Kern and Brantley an RBI apiece on sac bunts, and Riley had a single and a run scored.
The Lady Hawks tagged the Lady Comets' losing pitcher Hagenhoff for seven runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and a walk. Hagenhoff struck out 10 in the losing effort.
"We've had a lot of hard games and practices this season," said Brantley. "But, to come out here and be able to go to State again my senior year is exciting."
Brantley and the rest of the senior crew for Kelly, Riley, Beggs, Moore, Kern and Whitworth, will see their second consecutive appearance at the state tournament on Friday morning. The Lady Hawks will take on Marion C. Early (21-8) at Heritage Park at 11:30 a.m. on Field 2 in Saint Joseph. The winner of the game will take on the winner of Palmyra (22-2) and Mid-Buchanan (17-8) which will take place on Friday at 12:30 p.m. The championship game is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.