A recap of the Greenwood Lady Gators Softball season
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The Greenwood Lady Gators season has come to an end at the hands of the Ballard Bruins in the 2023 KHSAA Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Softball State Tournament Elite Eight.
After taking down Mercy in 9 innings off a Macie Murray walk off home run, Greenwood went 11 innings with the defending state champions for the second time this year.
Ballard scored one run in the 5th to break the ice but the gators came right back in the 6th and tied it up at one with Lydia Kirby getting the RBI single to bring in Savannah white.
Neither team could get points on the board before the end of 7 innings so it went into extras. That’s where Ballard took control in the 11th inning to take the win and advance. After a three and a half hour game. The lady gators fell 4-1.
“I’m just glad we went out with a bang we didn’t just let them run all over us,” senior pitcher Kayden Murray said. “We gave it all we got and we fought to the very end. I’m happy with the way the season ended it’s just a little bit sad.”
After taking over for former head coach Taylor Proctor, first year head coach Rodney Bush knew the potential of this team and that’s why he stacked the schedule with some heavy hitters including Ballard, Daviess county, and Great Crossing.
Not to mention having to play a top five ranked South Warren team four times, losing three before the 4th time being the charm to win Greenwoods first region title since 2014.
Before the District Tournament started they had lost three straight games to end the regular season before making and falling to the Lady Spartans in the 14th District Championship.
Whatever happened in the next five days to prepare them for their region tournament run stuck with them and carried them to the end.
Before the state tournament, Greenwood was led this season by Kayden Murray in the circle with a 13-6 record, one save, with 207 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.47. Lydia Kirby led the team on the offensive side with a .430 batting average with 8 home runs, 21 RBI’s and 11 stolen bases on 12 attempts.
In the state tournament, Murray threw a combined 21 strikeouts and only gave up 9 hits and 4 runs in 2 games. Kirby had the key at-bat, getting the RBI single to send the game into extra innings with Ballard.
The Lady Gators lose those seniors, Kayden Murray, Lydia Kirby and Hanna Kirby, big pieces of the team but they know the Gators will be able to regroup and make a run next year.
“I’m going to be rooting for them. I know Lydia will too,” Murray said. “I think that being here is going to push them to want to be here again next year and years to come.
“Just keep working, and just (have) positive attitudes all the time and don’t give up and want to be out on the field and have a good time,” Kirby said.
Greenwood finishes the season with a 20-14 record, a 4th region title, a trip to the Elite Eight of the state tournament and one season they’ll never forget.
“You’re not going to replace any of them,” head coach Rodney Bush said. “It’s next kid up but Lydia Kirby...offensively, defensively, best athlete on the team. Kayden Murray spinning the ball, so deceptive in the circle. How do you replace kids like that? It’ll be different next year for sure but I think we’re up for the challenge, we have some good young kids coming up.”
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