No.4 Stars rally in seventh inning to subdue Seymour

Brad Gilbert’s Stars rallied in the seventh inning to stop Seymour 7-4 on Tuesday.

SEYMOUR – Listless and restless, almost motionless in the midst of the doldrums, Bedford North Lawrence finally caught a gust of offensive momentum. Just in time, too, because the mighty ship was starting to take on a little water.

The fourth-ranked Stars, staring deeply into the abyss of a losing streak, erupted for four runs in the top of the seventh inning to subdue Seymour 7-4 on Tuesday evening. Annie Waggoner cracked a two-run single to put BNL on top, and the Stars added key insurance runs to cap a gut-check comeback.

BNL (20-7) was on the brink of a three-game slump, trailing 4-2 after five innings. The Stars stepped away from that cliff with a run in the sixth and the clutch explosion in the last frame.

“That was just what we needed, a nice comeback win against a quality team,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “They battled us and had us at the end of our rope. We finally strung some hits together.

“I’m sure, as the innings went on, it was like ‘What’s happening? Why can’t we bust loose?’ Luckily we put some things together to blow it open.”

Trailing by a run in the seventh, BNL went to work against Seymour reliever Alexia Rieckers. Lauryn Anderson ignited the rally with a lead-off single to center, and slugger Ava Ratliff drilled a double to left. Waggoner followed with her two-run bolt. Braxton McCauley kept the drive alive with a sharp single right, and she scrambled into scoring position as the Owls tried to cut down pinch stunner Sara Williams at third. BNL got both those runners in as Aliza Jewell grounded out for one run and Kendall Graves dropped down a safety squeeze bunt to plate the other.

BNL’s Ava Ratliff had three hits, including a home run, against the Owls.

Seymour (7-11 overall, 3-3 in the Hoosier Hills Conference) had the Stars in squirm mode. The Owls scored once in the second (Abby Followell’s RBI double) and two more in the fourth (RBI singles by Jamie Bobb and Kendall Allman), sandwiching a RBI single by Graves in the fourth.

Ratliff blasted a solo home run (her state-leading 18th of the season) in the fifth, but Seymour made it 4-2 in the fifth on another Followell RBI.

In the sixth, BNL fought within 4-3 as McCauley singled to left, took second on an error and scored on Jewell’s single. That set the stage for the final surge.

McCauley paced BNL’s 13-hit attack with three hits, and she scored three times. Ratliff was 3-for-3 while Jewell had two hits. Jewell went the distance in the circle, striking out four.

“She pitched well,” Gilbert said. “Some of the scoring early was just well-placed hits, they just had some things fall. She was throwing hard, and it was nice to see her close it out.

“Braxton hit well. I was really proud of her going to the opposite field. The plan was to hit the ball where it was pitched, get back to letting the ball travel and drive it the other way.”

BNL finished conference play with a 5-1 mark. The Stars will now need a Jennings County victory over Floyd Central on Thursday to force a split of the league title.

The Stars will host Edgewood and celebrate Senior Day on Saturday.