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Stars look pretty (good) in pink as Woodward fires no-hitter to silence Artesians
Friday, April 28, 2023

Stars look pretty (good) in pink as Woodward fires no-hitter to silence Artesians

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Kline Woodward might want to wear pink every game.

On a special night at the ballpark, with Bedford North Lawrence staging its ninth annual benefit game to raise funds for cancer awareness, Woodward was special, firing a no-hitter while honoring a family friend that is battling the wicked disease.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a no-hitter. Woodward did hit three Martinsville batters with pitches. But none of the Artesians made solid contact with the wooden bats (in one-time, old-school use for the fundraiser clash) as the Stars silenced Martinsville 10-0 in a five-inning, mercy-rule triumph.

Cancer shows no mercy. It’s a relentless adversary that strikes almost every family. That’s why this game means more, with each player and coach playing to honor the memory of a loved one or recognize a courageous survivor. That’s why the funds go to the Lawrence County Cancer Patient Services organization. It’s a small way of giving back. These games (including a fundraising effort that went on even when the 2020 season was wiped out by the virus pandemic) have now raised over $45,000, including over $5,700 during this week’s collection.

Woodward and the Stars (10-4) made it a big night. Woodward struck out eight, plus he collected two hits and drove in two runs. Nate Pemberton had two hits and three RBIs, and BNL scored five times in the bottom of the fifth to trigger the early ending. If only cancer could be conquered that way.

“It was a special night, and the kids took full advantage of it,” BNL coach Jeff Callahan said. “The money goes to Lawrence County Cancer Patient Services, an organization that can help people right here that need it.”

The pregame festivities included the release of pink balloons, and the ceremonial first pitch offered by Angela Pedersen, whose son is a sophomore on the BNL roster. The on-field festivities were dominated by Woodward, who honored Amanda Turner and who was unhittable because of his ability to throw first-pitch strikes with a wicked curve.

“My curve ball was my best pitch,” he said. “I actually struck out some guys on the changeup, which is odd for me. I haven’t done that in a while.”

“He threw strikes, got ahead of hitters,” Callahan said. “He did a good job of getting us in the dugout.”

Once in the dugout, the Stars put those wooden bats to proper use. They scored in the first against Martinsville freshman Rhys Wolf (who has already committed to Notre Dame) as Cal Gates stroked a soft single to left, advanced to second on Ryker Hughes’ sacrifice bunt, and scored on Woodward’s sharp single to center.

In the second, the Stars took advantage of Martinsville mistakes (scoring twice without benefit of a hit). In the third, Pemberton cracked a two-out RBI single for a 5-0 lead.

BNL ended it in the fifth. Pemberton had another RBI single, Woodward drove home another run, and the final two crossed via an error and wild pitch.

The wooden bats (both teams used pink ones the first time through the lineup and the wood weapons forced a different approach, because ash lacks the pop of metal alloy) were a hit in the BNL dugout. Perhaps not the other side as Martinsville fell to 5-11.

“I might start using one,” Woodward said. “That’s the best I’ve hit the ball all year. Felt comfortable.”

BNL also bounced back from a lackluster performance in its previous outing.

“What a difference 48 hours makes,” Callahan said. “We came out with a lot more enthusiasm. It made a big difference.

Woodward recorded BNL’s second no-hitter of the season.

“It’s just awesome,” Woodward said. “Having a good mindset, coming back with energy and winning was awesome for us.”

The Stars will compete in the Raider Hardball Classic at Southridge on Saturday, facing Northview in the first round, then either Southridge or Evansville Mater Dei in the second game of the day.

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Meaning of a BNL Baseball Player

Being a BNL Baseball player is an honor and wearing "Stars" across your chest gives our players a sense of pride and confidence.

B= Be coachable
N= Nobody outworks us
L= Locked in and focused
S = So what, next pitch
T = Two hundred feet
A = Attitude is everything
R = Respect the game
S = Selfless

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