LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
OWENSBORO—North Laurel responded from its first loss in seven weeks by leading Scott County (32-9) from first inning to last in a 6-3 win.
“We pressed a little this morning,” North Laurel coach Rogers Strong said of the earlier 1-0 loss to Ryle. “We felt like we were a little bit under the radar, although we were ranked 10th in the state in the final poll.”
The Lady Jaguars were favored against Ryle and that may have allowed the Lady Raiders to play with no pressure. Against Scott County, North Laurel had its game back.
“We decided we were going to play one play at a time, one inning, one game and let it all hang out. We are going to take chances. We are going to play hard,” Strong said.
It was a good sign for North Laurel when Sidney Herrell opened the game with a double. The No. 00 on Herrell’s uniform should signify wheels since she is the one that gets the team rolling offensively.
“When Sid goes we go,” Strong said. “It puts a lot of pressure on her. It affects her and that’s not really fair for her to feel that way because she is a great player.”
Herrell reached base three times against Scott County. Although she didn’t score in the first inning, she still played a key role. Herrell stole third and tried to score on a grounder by Kailin Yantz. Herrell was out at the plate, but Yantz would score when Megan Baldwin reached on an error.
Scott County loaded the bases in the second inning only to come up empty. A running catch by left fielder Farris Strong ended inning.
“That was the momentum swing that pushed us over the hump,” Strong said. “If they had gotten a hit and pushed a couple across, you never know. A team like that gets a couple of hits together in situations with people on, they could get on a roll and get six or seven.”
The momentum carried over to the top of the third inning where the Lady Jaguars took control with four runs. Herrell again led off the inning with a hit, followed by a walk to Yantz. With one out, Baldwin jumped on the first pitch for an RBI single. Baldwin and Kristin Fields have been the leading hitters for North Laurel through three games.
“We talk about her pitching all the time, but she’s a great hitter. It’s just what we expect out of her,” Strong said.
Emily Sears followed with an RBI single. Two more runs scored on a soft liner by Farris Strong that the shortstop and centerfielder could not corral.
Scott County scratched out a run in the third inning with the help of two North Laurel errors. They would continue to put runners on every inning as they out hit North Laurel 10-6. But defensive plays by Emily Sears at third base and the rest of the infield kept Scott County at bay. A big play by Fields would avert a rally in the seventh inning.
Three singles loaded the bases for Scott County with one out. Fields charged a bunt by Michaela Abney with no chance to get an out at first. Fields flipped the ball to Blake Johnson for the force at home in a bang-bang play.
“We are in a situation where the tying run could possibly be at the plate if she’s safe,” Strong said. “That was a big, big play. It’s something we work on. We work on the flip off the roller. Blake did a great job of hanging in there with someone right in her teeth coming at her.”