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LOUISVILLE— In a one-frame span Friday morning, the John Hardin Lady Bulldogs went from having new life to being eliminated from the girls’ team portion of the second Ebonite/KHSAA State Bowling Championships at Executive Strike & Spare.
The ninth-seeded Lady Bulldogs put the eighth-seeded Scott County Lady Cardinals into a pressure-filled situation in the fourth game, forcing freshman Sarah Doyle into having to roll only two possible combinations – three strikes or two strikes and a nine – in the 10th frame to give her team the win in the best-of-five series.
All Doyle did was put on the bowling equivalent of a camouflage vest, grab a gun and go turkey hunting.
Having just finished as the girls’ state individual runner-up the day before, Doyle got her turkey (three consecutive strikes) to help her team close out John Hardin, 3-1 (171-128, 171-140, 136-181, 172-170).
“It wasn’t too bad, but I was a little nervous,” Doyle said. “I’ve had to do that before to help us win by one. I knew what I had to do and I think I performed well.”
John Hardin performed well after digging its two-game hole.
In the opening game, the Lady Bulldogs were done in by four splits overall and no marks in the first four frames.
Now down 1-0, the Lady Bulldogs picked up three more splits in the second game. However, having marked in each of the first five frames, the Lady Bulldogs to a 113-111 lead in to the sixth frame. But the Lady Bulldogs went mark-less the remaining five frames.
That’s when Lady Bulldogs coach Jenny Brown took her team aside for a pep talk.
“It was pretty much like, ‘Get your act together or this is gonna be it for you guys,’” John Hardin junior No. 4 spot Morgan Parsons said of the mid-match talk. “And of course, none of us wanted that, so we we got it together and pulled through and then lost it by two pins.”
“It was hard, but they (Scott County) did awesome,” Parsons added. “I’m actually very shocked (by the ending), but there’s nothing we can do about it. We gave it our all, so I’m proud.”
John Hardin found its groove in the third game, opening with six consecutive marks. The Lady Bulldogs closed strong, too, with three strikes and an eight in their final four balls.
But led by Doyle, the Lady Cardinals had too much closing talent in the fourth game to rally from their 113-92 deficit after seven frames with a seven-spare in the eighth frame, a strike in the ninth and of course Doyle’s turkey in the 10th.
“She’s so good, but I really thought we had a chance, but not really when you have the runner-up at State going against you” said John Hardin senior anchor Karen Ledford, who had a team-high four spares on the day and a co-team best three strikes. “It just kills me that I needed to strike out and I get a nine-spare-nine.”
Parsons and senior Sarah Wolfe matched Leford with three strikes each, while sophomore Hannah Caudill and Ebonie Hampton each had one as the Lady Bulldogs tallied 11. Caudill and Parsons each had three spares, while Wolfe and Hampton both had two.
John Hardin was 14-of-30 in spare conversion, going 1-of-3 on four-pinners, 0-of-2 on three-pinners, 3-of-12 on two-pinners and 9-of-13 one-pinners.
Parsons led the team in the one-game qualifier with a 185. She was followed by Ledford (170), Caudill (162), Stephanie Allen (92), Hampton (137), Wolfe (132), Denea Graves (129) and Sonia Smallwood (115).
Only Parsons, Caudill and Hampton return next season.
“It’s just me, Hannah, Ebonie and ... I guess a bunch of little girls,” Parsons said of the 2013-14 returnees. “So I think we need to recruit a little bit, but hopefully we should be all right. Hopefully we can come back strong next year.”
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com