Warren’s wallop highlights memorable offensive night as BNL powers past Loogootee

BNL’s Britta Warren absorbs a hug from her sister Bella after slugging her first career home run on Monday against Loogootee. The Stars hit four homers while conquering the Lions 15-4.

By Justin Sokeland


BEDFORD – Good things come to those who wait, and Britta Warren had waited long enough. Almost too long, because her senior season is winding down, the opportunities are dwindling to a precious few, and her patience was about gone.

Wait, wait, wait for it. After wearing out foul ground down the left-field line during her first two plate appearances, too anxious to swing at inside pitches that she couldn’t keep between the lines, Warren finally got a pitch in her wheelhouse. It was exactly what she had been waiting for.

Warren crushed a full-count pitch over the fence in center field, a no-doubt launch for her first varsity home run, as Bedford North Lawrence overpowered Loogootee 15-4 in five innings on Monday night. Warren’s memory-making blast was one of four BNL homers, and the Lions were guilty of seven errors to fuel BNL’s mercy-rule victory.

BNL’s Ava Ratliff, Kendall Graves and Tori Nikirk also clubbed bombs, the loudest explosions during a 15-hit eruption, as the Stars unveiled a new celebration dance (courtesy of TikTok). But the Warren wallop was capped by an old-fashioned hug from her younger sister Bella during the team swarm at home plate, and that was far better than any borrowed social-media sensation.

BNL’s Tori Nikirk prepares to celebrate at home plate after blasting a home run in the fourth inning.

“I was determined,” Warren said. “I was going to get hold of one. I finally did. It came right down the middle, and it was my favorite pitch. I just waited, held back, and drove it. It was amazing. I knew right off the bat.“

During her first two chances, Warren was a case study in hyper-excitement. Loogootee hurlers Jocelyn Sims and Ashley Green were pitching at slower speeds than BNL was accustomed to facing, and Warren kept pulling the trigger too soon. Foul ball, after foul ball, after foul ball. Four during her nine-pitch walk the first time up, two more during a six-pitch walk the second time. Even the third time, she was way ahead while fouling off three more. Then . . . Boom! And then she couldn’t hardly wait to circle the bases, threatening to catch teammate Anna Williams (who started a base ahead) before making it to the plate for the sister hug.

“She’s been close,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “We’ve seen it practice. It’s just all timing. She finally got a pitch she could keep fair. It was great to see.“

Warren’s homer kickstarted a six-run fourth inning to trigger the quick ending. The other rockets came from Ratliff (of course, because no BNL barrage would be complete without a contribution from the state’s career leader in homers) for two runs in the second, from Graves (who followed the Ratliff blast) and Nikirk (a two-run shot in the fourth).

BNL’s Macee Nicholson worked three innings in the circle and struck out five.

“That’s a good night,” Nikirk said. “We won. I think we all needed that. Toward the end, we were waiting on the ball more, and we were making better contact. We’re used to a little faster. We just had to wait, sit back on it and wait.”

After Loogootee (10-13) scored three in the first (with Ava Jeffers stroking a two-run single), the Stars went to work. They sent nine batters to the plate in the first (scoring three, with a Ratliff RBI double and two Loogootee errors), and 10 more in the second (Anna Williams backed up the back-to-back bombs with a RBI double). Graves tripled in a run in the third, before Warren and Nikirk did the most damage in the fourth.

Ratliff, Graves and Anna Williams all had three hits each for the Stars. Ratliff’s home run was the 56th of her career, and she reclaimed a share of the state lead with her 13th this season. Macee Nicholson worked three innings of relief in the circle and struck out five while allowing an unearned run. BNL (16-10-1) was not at its best on defense, but blame that on the Monday blahs.

“Sometimes we don’t hit well, sometimes we don’t play well on Mondays,” Gilbert said. “We weren’t super sharp, but we kept battling on offense, kept chipping away and putting the ball in play. Good things happen when you hit it hard.”

BNL will host Class A No.4 West Washington and celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday.

BNL’s Ava Ratliff follows the flight of another home run, the 56th of her career.
BNL’s Kendall Graves slides safely into third base after ripping a triple.