By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
If North Laurel looked a little sluggish, it had an excuse. The Lady Jaguars have played 10 games in the last week. They still did what they needed to roll past Model in six innings Wednesday.
“That was the definition of workmanlike,” North Laurel coach Rogers Strong said. “We were extremely tired. We were running on fumes.”
The 10-0 win over Model made it 10 straight wins for the Lady Jaguars. They will get some rest now with Senior Awards and prom taking the place of softball for a few days. North Laurel isn’t scheduled to play again until Tuesday against Madison Central.
The Lady Jaguars may be peaking at the right time with seven games remaining on the schedule. They are coming off a tournament win in the Western Hills Invitational and have shown they can win even when they have to grit it out.
“I was really pleased. We hit the ball well enough and we didn’t make any mistakes in the field,” Strong said. “Megan had plenty of gas to finish up. She was sharp enough to get the job done.”
The Lady Jaguars stroked 12 hits and scored every inning except the fourth. Baldwin allowed just three hits with two of those falling just inside the first base line. The Lady Patriots did not get a runner past first base. It was the ninth shutout of the season for Baldwin and her second straight.
North Laurel jumped on top 2-0 in the first inning on back-to-back RBI doubles from Baldwin and Blake Johnson. Three runs in the second inning came on a two-run double by Kailin Yantz and an RBI double by Kristin Fields. All four runs had come with two outs.
“We’ve really hit the ball well the last two weeks. We’re putting runs on the board. We’re getting two-out hits. I’m really happy with where we are at. We just need to keep building,” Strong said.
Doubles continued to produce runs for the Lady Jaguars. Emily Sears burned the left fielder for a double that made it a 6-0 lead.
There would be no doubles in a scoreless fourth inning. A pair of singles did give the Lady Jaguars runners in the fourth, but they would be stranded.
North Laurel almost ended the game in the fifth inning. Sidney Herrell singled and later scored on a wild pitch. Fields drove in another run with a single. The game ended with Mikayla Vires’ RBI single in the seventh inning.
There is still no timetable for Becky Osborne to return to the helm of the Lady Jaguars as she continues to recover from an automobile accident. Strong will continue to prepare the team for what they hope will be another long run in the posts season. Strong said little things are what need attention in the final two weeks.
“I’m really emphasizing our short game. In the postseason, getting people over is really important part of the game,” Strong said.