SULPHUR – Normally, it’s a good idea to listen to whatever advice a coach gives. Holden’s Ashley Fogg didn’t, and it may have helped Holden win its third straight Class B state title.
Fogg’s RBI-triple snapped a 1-1 tie and sparked a four-run sixth inning, helping the top-seeded Lady Rockets to a 5-1 win over No. 3 Forest on Saturday at Frasch Park.
“Coach Linzey (Bowers) was saying, ‘We’re attacking the inside pitch,’ and all she (Forest pitcher Brooke Ross) threw me was outside, and that’s my best pitch to hit, so I attacked it, and I’m glad I did,” Fogg said. “I’ll bet she’s (Bowers) happy about it, though.”
Bowers was pleased her team pulled things together to get the win.
“Coming in, we knew they (Forest) were going to put the ball in play,” Bowers said after taking a deep breath. “We knew they were going to give us their best game. They showed up ready to play ball. We had to compete (from) the first pitch all the way to the last pitch. That’s the kind of championship games you like. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls.”
Holden’s big inning unfolded when Kamrynn Ouber got a one-out single up the middle, bringing up Fogg, who cranked a pitch to right field and motored into third base, breaking the stalemate.
Olivia Barnes, who had three hits, followed with a bunt single for a 3-1 lead. Olivia Lackie’s pop-up was dropped at second base for another run, and Gracie Duffy’s single to left accounted for the final margin.
That allowed Lackie to retire the side in order in the top of the seventh, completing a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts on her way to her third straight Class B title game MVP.
“I knew that this team was going to be on the ball and that I would have to move it and hit my spots in order to do what I needed to do, and I feel like that’s how I got by them,” said Lackie, who retired 15 straight after giving up a double in the first inning. “They’re a great hitting team -- they really are. I’m just really glad I was able to shut them down so we could take the win.”
For the second straight game, Lackie walked just one batter – with two outs in the sixth to Abbie Ramage – snapping the streak of 15 straight batters retired.
“It was a little more of the same thing,” Lackie said. “It was movement and hitting my locations, because any team can hit a fastball or a pitch that’s right down the middle of the plate or something that doesn’t have any break on it. But it takes a really good hitter to hit a ball that is curving or rising and has a really good spin and movement and it jumps out of the zone, so that’s what I was focusing on.”
Holden battled back from 1-0 deficit, picking up a run in the bottom of the second as Madi McDonald dropped a two-out double just behind second base and scored on Ouber’s single to left to knot the score at 1-1.
The Lady Rockets, who stranded nine runners in the first through fourth innings, loaded the bases with no outs in third but couldn’t score. They got back-to-back singles from Fogg and Barnes, but Ross got a pair of strikeouts to get out of the inning.
“Things weren’t falling our way,” Bowers said. “We were putting good swings on balls early, and things just didn’t go our way earlier. I kept thinking, ‘This is going to be our inning.’ It didn’t happen until the sixth inning, which I’m fine with. I’m just glad they kept trusting it. They didn’t crack when they hung a number in the first inning. They fought back.”
Forest got the game’s first run when Ramage reached on a one-out error, and Katie Rios got a two-out double, which went over the head of Holden’s McDonald in left field for a 1-0 lead.
“Right when it was coming off the bat, I thought I had to play up, but it was over my head,” McDonald said with a chuckle. “Thank God Gracie (Duffy) was there to back me up and get the throw in.”
It all helped Holden bring back another state championship trophy to Livingston Parish.
‘That’s what we talked about this year, staying humble and staying hungry,” Bowers said. “These kids, they bought in. They knew it wasn’t going to be given to them, but they wanted it. At the end of the day, you do everything you can.”
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