LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Harlan had no answer for North Laurel’s pitching and when the North Laurel bats got started, it was no contest. North Laurel rolled to an 11-1 five-inning win in the first round of the 9-10 All Star Girls District Tournament Saturday. North Laurel will play South London at 6 p.m. tonight in the finals of the winner’s bracket.
Payten Gregory and Abby Lay held Harlan to one hit with 11 strikeouts. Gregory struck out five of the six hitters she faced, allowing only a second inning double to Emily Long. Long was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
It looked like a close game for a couple of innings as North Laurel managed just a pair of hits. North Laurel threatened in the first inning with walks to Taylor Combs, Maddie Dagley, and Gregory to open the game. One runner would be thrown out stealing and another left the base too soon. One run did score in the first on a double by Brianna Houston. Houston went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
North Laurel made it 2-0 in the second inning on an RBI single by Lay. Isabel Gray scored on Lay’s hit after drawing a leadoff walk.
Lay took the mound in the third inning and picked up where Gregory left off. Lay fanned six batters and did not allow a hit. The North Laurel offense got its timing down in the third inning as well.
After a single by Gregory, Dagley reached first on a perfect bunt. Houston drove in a run with a double down the left field line. A wild pitch would allow Dagley to score. A walk to Taylor Jones loaded the bases. Gray smoked a double to left field that drove in a pair of runs. Gray scored on grounder by Skylar Brewer for a 7-0 lead. North Laurel wasn’t finished yet. Megan Sechrest singled and scored on an infield single by Combs.
Houston singled in the fourth inning and scored on a fielder’s choice for a 9-0 lead.
Harlan did manage a run in the fifth inning. A leadoff walk to Cassidy Coker was followed by two stolen bases and a wild pitch.
North Laurel got that run back and one more in the bottom of the fifth to end the game early.
Haven Houston led off with a walk and Lay was hit by a pitch. An infield single by Combs loaded the bases. Haven Houston scored on a wild pitch. The bases were reloaded when Gregory reached on a bunt single. Brianna Houston delivered again with an RBI single to end the game.
North Laurel 10, Clay County 0
Gregory was again untouchable in North Laurel’s win over Clay County. After striking out the first four batters Saturday, she topped that with five strikeouts to open Sunday’s game. She finished the night with 13 strikeouts out of the 16 batters she faced.
North Laurel took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI triple by Gregory and RBI single by Dagley, after Combs led off the game with a double. RBIs by Taylor Jones and Macie McDaniel made it a 4-0 North Laurel lead.
Brianna Houston stayed hot with a two-run inside-the-park homer in the second inning as North Laurel pulled ahead 7-0. Lay’s inside-the-park homer in the third inning pushed the lead to 9-0.