By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Leona Morron’s eyes sparkled with tears, her voice quivered. Nothing prepares a senior for the emotional jolt of that final home appearance – facing family, friends and the future – and the realization of the end.
All those pictures, memories, trophies and trinkets – treasures of the game, of a life that will soon change.
Bedford North Lawrence bid farewell to its upperclassmen on Tuesday night, mauling Monrovia 12-2 in six innings to start a post-game celebration with the proper frame of reference. These Stars, about to start their sectional title defense, haven’t suffered many losses during their four-year careers, and they weren’t going to end it with one.
This victory, rather appropriately, was marked by senior fingerprints. Morron and Zoe Adams combined to scatter 5 hits in the circle. Josie O’Brien made a sensational catch, Kate Williams ended the night with a walk-off single, Averie Jones drove in 2 runs. The tough part was the speeches after the game.
“That’s what you want to see on Senior Night, everyone contributing,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “It’s very emotional for everybody. You obviously want to win, and you want to play well. You want it to be a positive experience.”
The Stars were in positive mode, blasting to a 5-0 lead in the second as Carlee Kern clobbered a 3-run home run. That blast was a program-record 21st as a team.
“We don’t focus on home runs, we focus on line drives,” Gilbert said. “Good things happen when you hit the ball on the nose. It shows that what we’re doing in the offseason works. The kids work hard and I’m proud of that.”
BNL extended its lead to 8-1 in the fifth as Jones singled in a run and Brylee Blackwell chased home another. The Stars then invoked the mercy rule with 4 in the sixth as Adams ripped a 2-run single, O’Brien plated another with a bunt, and Williams drilled a single through the infield for the final run.
“It feels good,” Williams said. “It was great. We bounce back pretty good.”
BNL made the most of 7 hits and took advantage of 9 walks by Monrovia starter Mackenzie Caudill. Morron earned the win with thee shutout innings before Adams finished off the Bulldogs (8-9).
“It means a lot to win,” Morron said. “It’s really special because you spend it with your other family. It’s very emotional.”
The Stars (19-6) will visit Bloomfield on Thursday.