Martin Heat break through for state crown
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 5:24 pm
After going 14-0 and only allowing one run scored all year, the Heat’s perfect defense broke down in game one and gave up six runs on errors resulting in a 6-5 loss. Before game two of the championship, Heat coach Jeff Leyhue reminded the girls of the strong defensive play that got them this far and challenged the girls to “get back to what you do best — play sound defense, strong pitching, and break out the bats early!” The girls responded and scored three runs in the first inning, backed up their early lead with solid defense and won the state championship by a score of 6-2 over the Portland Lady Panthers.
“Jeff and I challenged the girls to be aggressive at bat this weekend and they responded. They scored several more runs this weekend than the last two tournaments put together. I was very proud of the way the girls played,” heat coach Chris Vincent said. “We have been to the state tournament four times, finishing second twice and third twice. This year the girls finally brought home the big trophy!”
Heat pitchers Kaley Leyhue and Sadie Hollis received game balls for their outstanding pitching all season, throwing several no-hitters and shutouts.
The 15-1 season began in Milan with the district tourney. Competing with teams from Milan, Paris and Camden, the Martin squad went 5-0 and only allowed one run all weekend. After the championship game, the Heat voted second baseman Holly Morris player of the tournament for her hustle both defensively and at bat.
The regional tournament was held in Camden with teams from Milan, Camden, Paris, Obion and Lexington competing. Again, the Heat went 5-0 in the tourney with a nine-inning showdown against Obion in the championship game. At the completion of six regulation innings in the title game, the score was 0-0 with strong pitching and solid defense by both teams. Over the next three innings, the Heat made play after play and did not allow the Obion team to score.
“We specifically practiced this situation prior to the tournament — how to defend against the International Tie Breaker (a base runner starts the inning at second base to help create a scoring situation) and how to stop any runs from scoring. The girls played it perfectly and I was very proud of them.” Vincent said.
In the top of the ninth inning, Sadie Hollis laid a bunt down the first base line. The Obion pitcher overthrew first base and allowed the runner to score from second. The final out of the Heat victory came with catcher Haley Arnold making a play at home while doing the splits in order to keep her toe touching the plate to deny Obion a score. Arnold received the game ball for making several game-saving plays at home plate.