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Monday, April 22, 2019

Louisville Softball Wins Three -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


It is a rarity in the college softball world to play three games in one day.

It's even rarer for one team to win all three contests, but that's what the Louisville Softball team did on Easter Sunday at Ulmer Stadium on the Don Dobina Field against Georgia Tech.

Louisville head coach Holly Aprile couldn't ever remember doing it in her college coaching career. Cardinal third baseman Sidney Melton had never played in and won three on the same day.  A 6 1/2 hour time frame on the same day was long and tiring for the teams. But, that's what the Red and Black accomplished...with a 11-7, 7-2 and 11-10 whitewash of the YellowJackets from Atlanta. 

Action began promptly at 10 a.m. yesterday, a swirling and almost mysterious fog sweeping across the dirt infield from the warming dirt and humid but dry conditions.You couldn't see downtown from the press box -- that much fog still remained in the Louisville area -- but the Cards held a 10-5 lead from the Friday afternoon came that was stopped because of rain. The scenario began with no outs, Georgia Tech at bat and runners on second and third.

Danielle Watson was in the circle for the Cards and promptly walked the first batter she faced. With the bags full of YellowJackets, the situation looked ominous and the atmosphere tense. 

Watson and her teammates got out of the dire circumstances, though, getting three straight outs, two of them strikeouts, and allowing just one run. The ominous monster had not risen from the fog and engulfed the Cards. They still led 10-6

Charley Butler began the top of the fifth with a single and proceeded around the bases to score for the Cards, using a Tech throwing error and run down of Melton trying to steal second after a walk. 11-6. The visitors loomed large again in the top the sixth -- a double and single cut the Cards lead to four again. 

The Cards went down in order in the bottom of the sixth, producing three attempts that never got out if the infield, but held court in the top of the seventh as Watson collected two more "K's" and just a walk. It was an early preview of the kind of day Watson was going to produce in the circle and the Cards won 11-7 in the "continuation" game. 


Louisville started game two with Watson in the circle again and decided to put this one out of reach early. After she set the Jackets down with a 1-2-3 top of the first, Louisville exploded for five runs on three walks and three hits. Bulter's single to right drove home two Cardinal runners and a booming double from Maddy Newman to right center had the Cards in great shape. 

Watson was "on" in the circle and was dispensing strike outs. Tech managed just two runs and two hits in the seven-inning second contest, the sophomore pitcher from Osceola, IN. punched out 11 Tech participants to tie her career strike out record. Louisville tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth when Newman and Celene Funke scored -- aided by a clutch single from Melton and a run-down on an attempted steal of second by Melton. 

7-2 Cards, with Watson going the distance and picking up her second win of the day.


Georgia Tech decided they'd try the "big lead early" scenario in the final game of Easter Sunday. They rocked starting pitcher Megan Hensley, who was relieved in the circle with just one out by Taylor Roby, and when the fog had cleared, the Cards found themselves in a 5-0 hole.

Louisville was undaunted, however. They struck back for four runs in the bottom of the first. Doubles by Funke, Melton and Roby, a walk to Hensley and a Taylor Roby single produced the damage. 

While Roby held the G.T. squad scoreless over the next few innings, the Cards continued to chip away at the lead and regain it. Roby smashed a home run to left center to tie it in the second. The Cards took the lead in the bottom of the third 6-5 when Rebecca Chung powered a double to deep center and scored on a Cassady Greenwood sacrifice fly. 

Then, Tech woke up for the second time in the game. Three singles filled the bags and a sacrifice fly tied it up again. Crosby Huckabay came to the plate and absolutely crushed a ball to left center that bounced off the top of the Ulmer Stadium scoreboard for a grand slam. UofL found themselves in a 10-6 trailing situation going into the bottom of the fourth.

These birds weren't done flying, though.

Back-to-back home runs from Hensley and Chung cut the Tech lead to 11-8. After holding the softball version of the Rambling Wreck scoreless in the top of the fifth, Louisville came to the plate needing two to tie and three to take the lead. 

At this time, another aspect developed. 

The visitors, it seemed, had a flight to catch back to Atlanta. They needed to end this one at 4:25 p.m. to get to the airport in time. The Georgia Tech assistant S.I.D. sitting next to me in the press box was nervous and watching the clock. Holly Aprile decided not to tell her squad about the intended Georgia Tech sudden departure until the Cards came to bat in the bottom of the fifth. Why put any undue pressure on the squad, right? 

This bottom of the fifth inning started out pretty rough for Louisville. Funke grounded out to the Tech pitcher. Melton lifted a lazy fly to center that was caught. Two down. But Megan Hensley wasn't ready to tote the equipment bag back to the Koetter Center yet and drilled a sharp single to left. Roby followed suit and singled to center. Caitlin Ferguson drew a walk from Tech hurler Brooke Barfield. With the bases loaded, Chung came to the plate and calmly drove one deep to right center. It soared past the fielders and the Cardinal runners were flying as well. Chung had emptied the bases with a double and Louisville led 11-10. 

The teams started the top of the sixth -- but with Georgia Tech batting, with one out and one on -- Georgia Tech head coach Aileen Morales came out of the dugout at 4:26 p.m., motioned to the home plate umpire that they were done and the teams lined up for the post game handshakes. 

Tech scampered to the bus. 11-10 the final tally and the Cards had swept the day.

A full day of Softball. A total of 53 runs scored in the series. The Cards go to 31-15 and 11-7 in the ACC. That's a pretty good Easter Sunday. As if in agreement, the sun broke out and smiled down upon us as we conducted the post game interviews. 

A Cardinal squad that is 9-3 in April. UofL Softball has won seven of their last night. It would seem that Aprile is doing well in April. 



Holly Aprile discusses the wins:  HOLLY APRILE POST SERIES 4/21/19

Sidney Melton Post Game (with a cameo by Celene Funke): SIDNEY MELTON DISCUSSES THE WINS 4/21/19



  1. WOW! What a Sunday for Softball! So glad to see this, the Cards have been playing great recently and I hope everyone had a great Easter. I did !!

    Curtis "Found no eggs but didn't hide any, so --" Franklin

  2. That Funke is a ham, isn't she? But, I love it!
    So refreshing to see the excitement of student-athletes
    taking pride and joy in what they accomplish!
    -- The Real Joe Hill --

  3. Aprile does well in April. Good stuff, Paulie. I don't have a lot of interest in softball but reading the recap certainly makes it sound like a fun Sunday afternoon. GO CARDS!

    Nick O

  4. Playing in the warmth and sunlight all day was sure to wear down the Cards but they battled through it all! The sweep puts them in good shape as they continue to strengthen their case for an NCAA Tournament bid.

  5. Watched all 3. The last one, WOW!
    THhought that grand slam gave Game Tech momentum and a victory. Nope. Cards are warriors.


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