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Kaitlen Bush sets Belpre home run record in sectional final win over Green

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Belpre sophomore Kaitlen Bush, pictured here watching her run-scoring single in the second inning of the Golden Eagles’ 13-2 six-inning mercy rule victory versus Green on Thursday at Civitan Park in a Division IV Southeast District sectional championship game, broke the school record with her eighth home run in her previous at-bat in the first inning.

BELPRE — Leadoff hitter Dekotah Lemon set the tone with a solo bomb in the bottom of the first here Thursday evening at Civitan Park as host Belpre rolled Green, 13-2, in six innings during a Division IV Southeast District sectional final.

Lemon finished 2 for 4 with two runs scored while fellow senior right-hander Alyssa Hutchinson was perfect for 3 2-3 innings en route to earning the mound triumph as she allowed six hits, no walks and had four strikeouts.

The Golden Eagles’ other senior, center fielder and No. 8 hitter Emma Hodgson, joined sophomore shortstop Kaitlen Bush in going 3 for 4 with four runs-batted-in. Bush, who was a triple shy of the cycle, blasted a no-doubt two-run bomb to left in the bottom of the first to give the hosts a 3-0 cushion. It was her eighth round-tripper of the campaign, which set the school record and broke the previous mark of seven held by Taylor Mason and Lauryn Simmons.

“Yeah, that was pretty exciting for the first batter to hit a home run,” Bush said of Lemon’s tater, which hit the top of the fence in left and then bounced over for her third jack of the campaign.

Hutchinson reached on an error and was replaced by courtesy runner Claudia Church before Bush’s blast from the three hole.

“It was right down the middle,” admitted Bush, who added of getting the record “it feels pretty great, especially just because it’s been a big season and I didn’t get to have my freshman season.”

Lemon’s two-out single in the second led to a 4-0 cushion after Bush delivered a run-scoring knock to left off losing pitcher Gracie Daniels.

Eighth-seeded Belpre, which improved to 14-12 and takes on top-seeded Portsmouth Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a district semifinal, pushed across three runs in the third off hurler Ava Jenkins. Catcher Taylor Parker started it with a single to left and courtesy runner Allie Jaraucaro scored on Hodgson’s RBI single to center. No. 9 hitter Maddie Sprigg followed with a two-run single back up the box.

Green, the ninth seed which finished 10-14, finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth when Kasey Kimbler doubled to right-center and scored on Kami Sweeney’s two-bagger to left-center.

Belpre got that run back in the last of the fifth when Hodgson’s single to center scored Williams.

The Bobcats posted their final run in the sixth when leadoff hitter Emily Brady singled and crossed on Kimbler’s RBI double. Kimbler and Sweeney each finished 2 for 3.

Head coach Stephanie Evans’ squad finished things off with a five-run sixth. Hutchinson, who was once again replaced by Church after reaching via a one-out error, got it started. Bush blasted a stand-up RBI double to the base of the fence in left-center. Cleanup hitter Maggie Johnson then had an RBI single. With two outs, Carrissa Sprigg drew a free pass and scored on Williams’ single to center. Hodgson ended the contest when she was credited with a two-run single to left.

“We stressed coming out with energy and getting a good start from the beginning,” Evans noted. “She (Lemon) set the pace in the bottom of the first and it carried over.”

Evans obviously was impressed with Bush as well as her entire lineup, especially the trio of Golden Eagle seniors.

“As a sophomore, that’s pretty darn sweet,” Evans said of Bush’s record. “I’m proud of them. That was a total team effort. We hit from top to bottom. Everyone contributed and you couldn’t ask for more. (The three seniors) very special group. I get a little choked up talking about them.

“They are going to be irreplaceable. These girls have been playing together since they were 5. They are sisters and that’s the way they see each other and you can tell the love they have for each other and the love they have for the game. It’s truly something special and I’m going to miss them.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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