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Home run by Ballard’s Martin meant more than just a hit

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 9:02 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Ballard softball is headed back to the state tournament for the first time since 2018.

“It’s double exciting because you’re going back and they had a great year. Now, we’ve got an opportunity to win a state championship,” said head coach Alan Jones.

The Bruins advanced to the state tournament by knocking off Male in the seventh region final fueled by a moment in the second inning that not even Walt Disney writers could come up with.

Ballard senior, Sydney Martin, played through the toughest year of her life.

“During my field hockey season is when my mom got re-diagnosed with cancer,” said Martin.

Despite having a heavy heart, Sydney kept playing the sport she loves while inspiring her coach and teammates.

“We’re definitely stronger because of her. We’re just blessed to have her back with us,” commented fellow senior Skylar Lee.

“Watching Sydney and seeing how Sydney’s been so strong when she’s been with us here has been a big inspiration for the whole team,” said Jones.

Sydney’s mom, Ashley Martin-Ryan, lost her battle with cancer on June 2nd.

“I texted Alan when I found out my mom passed and said I needed a few days,” said Sydney.

The following Monday the Bruins took on Male in the regional championship, the same day Sydney laid her mother to rest.

“We had a get-together with everybody. My family and friends came, and at that point, I didn’t know if I was going to play or not. I still never made up my mind,” commented Martin.

But Sydney showed up, and at her first at-bat with two runners on base, with a full count. Sydney blasted a three-run shot to center to give Ballard a 3-0 lead.

“I hope I don’t get emotional, but I said, hey, your mom is here, and you’ve got an angel in the outfield and you’re going to do this,” said Jones.

“I wrote here initials at the top of my bat. So, I looked at it, twisted my bat, and I looked up at the sky and I hit it out,” Sydney said.

“We’re not really allowed to celebrate I guess cause of COVID, but I mean, we didn’t care. We were down by the plate. Everybody’s hugging her, crying. It was just an awesome feeling,” Lee said.

So now, in a season dedicated to her mother, Sydney Martin and the Bruins are looking to cap it with a state title.

“It would be amazing”, said Martin.