Roby and Newman lead Daviess County past Lady Aces for a hat-trick
Junior Raylee Roby is nearly hitless and some fireworks from eighth grade Annie Newman stood out for the Lady Panthers on Friday as they managed to pull off an 8-1 victory over Owensboro Catholic to claim their third consecutive championship of the 9th district.
The Lady Aces got the game’s first real scoring opportunity in Game 1, getting back-to-back walks to put the runners up first and second. But junior Raylee Roby managed to get out of the jam, keeping things scoreless late in the first.
From there, Roby took over the circle game. After the two walks in the first inning, the right-hander didn’t allow another walk or three bases.
Roby had seven of nine outs so far in the game and Daviess County took advantage offensively late in the third. It was eighth grader Annie Newman who put the Lady Panthers on the board, sending a left and letting the wind carry her over the fence to take a 1-0 lead.
Daviess County rejoined the table again in the bottom of the fourth, earning an RBI brace from senior Millie Roberts to start a rally. Shortly after, junior Kayley Payne hit a two-out RBI single to the right, giving the Lady Panthers a 3-0 lead.
However, it was Annie Newman who blew things up, sending another house running left and facing a 2-2 count. This time it was a three-point shot, giving Daviess County a 6-0 lead going into the fifth.
Owensboro Catholic’s struggles continued as they walked one run and gave up another over picking a defenseman to make it an 8-0 game late in the fifth. Annie Newman had a chance to add more run production to her credit with two outs and the bases loaded, but junior Brooke Hamilton beat her this time with one strikeout to send her to sixth.
Junior Bailey Hamilton finally put the Lady Aces on the board with their first hit and run of the game with a solo shot to start the seventh, but it was too little too late as Roby retired the next three batters to secure the 8- 1 win and the Lady Panthers’ third straight 3rd Region Championship.
Roby was in total control of the game from the jump, going all seven innings from the circle while allowing one run on a hit, walking three and striking out 15 on the day. The junior has consistently put up strong outings throughout the season and today it was her rising ball and game plan that helped her excel.
“I mean pretty much just going inside on all of them worked,” Roby said. “Which I knew they were going to get one eventually, but I knew I could always trust my defense and attack to help me out.”
Meanwhile, Brooke Hamilton didn’t have her best thing Friday, allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits, walking two and striking out seven in the full game. Although she struggled that day, head coach Jeremy Phelps doesn’t think the team’s defense did her any favors.
“We just didn’t make the right adjustments,” Phelps said. “We let a few plays play, I want to get away from us. We weren’t aggressive enough in defence. They scored five runs in the fourth inning and they should have had one if we were aggressive on plays where we dropped the ball.
It was Annie Newman who stole the show offensively for Daviess County, scoring Hamilton for two homers and four RBIs.
“I had a lot of inside throws and I knew at the start of the count I was swinging high at them,” Newman said. “So I knew they were going to come up and come in. I just stayed aggressive and put the bat on the ball.”
Newman personifies the phrase that big things come in small packages, as the eighth-grader has shown plenty of pop this season despite his stature to help Lady Panthers succeed.
“She has the power,” Biggs said. “And again, she is selective. She’s kind of nicknamed “the hacker” jokingly… But she’s all in, she’s completely professional. Once we settled in with her, we knew she was a gamer. Even though she’s in eighth grade, no stage is too big for her.
Daviess County takes the 9th District Championship treble with the win, which many could have predicted at the start of the season. However, Biggs said his team didn’t bow under the pressure despite having a target on their backs this year and their level of focus was the reason they were doing so well.
“It’s something everyone expected of us and it’s a lot of pressure from 16, 17 year olds…” Biggs said. “They were pretty focused. There wasn’t much cheering and hype before the game. As coaches we were talking about it and I said ‘they’re just connected’. They know the task. We move on to the area and that’s a goal and now you have to move on or you don’t.
With another material item added to the trophy showcase, Daviess County is now turning its attention to regionals. As long as the Lady Panthers stick to their motto this season and don’t let up, Biggs thinks they can make another deep playoff run.
“We’ve created an environment here that if you trust the process and put in the work, you’ll be successful…” Biggs said. “That was kind of our mantra this year, improve. If everyone in our team keeps improving, then the team will improve. We have people who have bought into that and we have people who really stepped up.
On the other hand, the Lady Aces will be looking to move on from the tough loss fairly quickly, as Phelps noted they need to have a short memory to make a splash in the playoffs.
“Everything is reset,” Phelps said. “Single elimination, so you throw the records away and everyone is 0-0 in the playoffs. That must be the message. We didn’t play well here tonight, but that’s okay… We’ll be pushing hard for the next two days to turn a region around.