OWENSBORO - She came close, but Rebekah Hogancamp was not going to miss pitching for Ballard Memorial during its first-ever appearance as the First Region champion in the All A Classic State Softball Tournament at Jack Fisher Park in Owensboro.
Her perseverance to overcome a lingering illness, and having to travel with her family instead of with the team to get to Saturday's pool-play action was just like the resiliency the Lady Bombers showed to clinch a berth in today's single-elimination championship bracket after losing their first game in Pool D to Louisville Holy Cross 6-1 and then beating Bracken County 5-0 and coming back to topple Raceland 10-6 Saturday.
"I felt like my ears were going to pop off and my eyes were going to bulge out of my head; just brushing out my hair hurt," said Hogancamp, who said she's been dealing with a bout of bronchitis and couldn't get a prescription to help her sleep until late Friday night. "My throat is killing me. My chest hurts every time I cough. It's really been a trip."
It's the kind of thing that can keep a coach up at night.
"We were really nervous, because she's been really sick," Ballard Memorial coach Terry Amis said. "She wasn't at the pep rally and her mom and dad had to get her here. She just battled and battled. She told us she was OK and we kept checking up and almost pulled her after the first game. But she said she was fine and pitched three really good ball games."
By going 2-1 and finishing second in Pool D, Ballard Memorial (8-13) will take on Pool B winner Livingston Central (20-6), the 17th-ranked team in the Kentucky Softball Coaches Association poll, at 7:30 a.m. this morning on the Brown Field. The semifinals are slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. today and the championship game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Ballard Memorial's only loss happened because Louisville Holy Cross, ranked 11th in the KCSA poll, scored six runs in the top of the fourth to break the game open and go onto win 6-1.
Leah Shelley had the Lady Bombers' only run against Louisville Holy Cross, appropriately enough off a home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Ballard Memorial raced out to a 5-0 lead over Bracken County in its second game of pool play and didn't need any more after scoring three in the bottom of the first and two more in the top of the second.
Shelley was big at the plate again with her two-run homer in the first that scored Hogancamp. Hogancamp and Shelley then came through with back-to-back singles in the bottom of the second to put on the Lady Bombers' final runs against Bracken County.
Raceland tied Ballard Memorial's third game of pool play with two runs in the top of the fourth.
But the Lady Bombers tacked on one each in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings and two more in the bottom of the sixth to beat the Lady Rams 10-6.
Rianah Fields scored from third on an error at third in the bottom of the fourth and put Ballard Memorial up 7-6.
Shelby Hawes' RBI double in the bottom of the fifth scored Taylor Foster from first and gave the Lady Bombers an 8-6 advantage.
Ballard Memorial made it the final thanks to Foster's single in the bottom of the sixth that plated Jade Babb. Jayde Newton came in on the same play because of an error at short.
Game 1, Pool D:
Lou. Holy Cross 6, Ballard Memorial 1
Ballard Memorial 000 100 0 1 2 2
Louisville Holy Cross 010 104 x 6 6 0
BM: Hogancamp and Newton; LC: Bowling and Miller.
WP: Bowling. LP: Hogancamp
2B: none. 3B: none. HR: BM - Shelley; LC - Gailor, Bowling. Top hitters: BM - Shelley 1-3, RBI; Babb 1-3.
Game 2, Pool D:
Ballard Memorial 5, Bracken County 0
Bracken County 000 000 0 0 5 1
Ballard Memorial 320 000 x 5 11 0
BC: Jefferson and Bell; BM: Hogancamp and Newton.
WP: Hogancamp. LP: Jefferson
2B: none. 3B: none. HR: Shelley. Top hitters: BM - Hogancamp 3-3, RBI, run; Shelley 2-3, 3 RBI, run; Babb 2-3, run.
Game 3, Pool D:
Ballard Memorial 10, Raceland 6
Raceland 310 200 0 6 10 6
Ballard Memorial 204 112 x 10 10 3
R: Diller and Curely ; BM: Hogancamp and Newton
WP: Hogancamp. LP: Diller
2B: R - Johnson; BM - Hawes. 3B: none. HR: none. Top hitters: BM - Tyson 1-4, run; Shelley 1-3, run; Babb 2-3, RBI; Newton 3-4, 2 RBI; Foster 2-4, 2 RBI, run.
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow on Twitter @psunsports.