Hot-hitting Stars slug their way past Artesians

BNL’s Aliza Jewell had four hits and earned the win in the circle as the No.6 Stars powered past Martinsville on Thursday.

MARTINSVILLE – After blasting to a 11-0 lead, No.6 Bedford North Lawrence had to hold its breath to escape with a tough 12-9 victory at Martinsville on Thursday.

Aliza Jewell and Ava Ratliff both had four hits as the Stars muscled to their fourth straight win and reached double digits in runs for the ninth time this season. And they needed every one of them when the Artesians (14-11) fashioned a furious late comeback, scoring four times in the ninth and loading the bases before BNL (23-7) finally squelched the rally.

Jewell had two doubles and four RBIs, while Ratliff launched her 20th home run of the year. She’s the first player in state history to slug 20-plus homers in back-to-back seasons, and she’s already fifth on the state’s career homers list with 41. And she’s only just begun.

“We hit the ball well and put some runs on the board early,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “We had some timely hitting. It was a great team win with everyone contributing.”

BNL scored three in the first, two when Lauryn Anderson singled and Ratliff rocketed a homer to center. Annie Waggoner singled, Jewell hammered her first double, and Kendall Graves added a sacrifice fly.

The Stars added five runs in the third. Ratliff doubled, Braxton McCauley cracked a RBI single, Jewell jolted a two-run double, and Graves bombed a two-run homer for an 8-0 advantage. BNL came back with three more in the fourth as McCauley ripped a RBI double and Jewell added a two-run single.

On the verge of a mercy-rule beating, the Artesians fought back.

Karrsen Pruitt cracked a two-run home run during a three-run fourth. Chloe Huff hit a two-run bomb in the fifth, and Pruitt led off the seventh with her second homer. Jewell, starting to tire in the circle, then walked three straight batters before plunking another. Ava Pemberton singled in a run, and Martinsville made it 12-9 with a sacrifice fly before Waggoner came on in relief to record the final two outs.

McCauley and Waggoner collected two hits each as BNL totaled 14 hits. Graves had three RBIs.

Pruitt was 3-for-4 with two bombs and three RBIs.

BNL will visit Terre Haute South on Friday to conclude the regular season.