By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Nothing like a little vacation to get you recharged. Luckily for the North Laurel Lady Jaguars they looked a lot like the same team they were seven days ago.
“We were a little rusty where we have been off for a week, but we had to take some time off,” North Laurel coach Rogers Strong said.
The Lady Jaguars 8-0 win over Madison Central was their 10th in a row and 14th win in their last 15 games. The only rust that showed was at the plate where North Laurel was held in check until the third inning and only led 3-0 after four innings.
“We were having quality at bats,” Strong said. “She (the Madison Central pitcher) wasn’t throwing that hard and we were a little off stride. She tried to keep it away from us. She tried to keep it on the outer part of the plate.”
Strong said the Lady Jaguars needed to wait a little longer on the outside pitch and drive it to right field.
When Strong pointed out to the players that the pitcher was working the outside half of the plate, the bats started to come alive. He was not ready to take credit for finding a miracle cure.
“After they had seen her a couple of times I think we adjusted a little,” Strong said. “And sometimes it helps to plant a seed. They adjust pretty well and they try to adjust to what you tell them to do.”
The only live pitching the Lady Jaguars had seen in the last week came from Strong and assistant coach Shane Brewer. He wanted to rest the team’s pitchers as much as possible after a stretch of seven games in four days.
“I honestly thought we would hit her a little better than we did early,” Strong said.
North Laurel pushed its first run across in the third inning. Mikayla Vires led off with a single, followed by a single from Sidney Herrell. Vires scored on a wild pitch.
Madison Central helped the Lady Jaguars add two runs to the lead in the fourth inning. Blake Johnson was hit by a pitch and Vanessa Smith reached on an error. Emily Sears drove in both runs with a double.
The Lady Jaguars started to break the game open with four runs in the fifth inning. Two runs scored on an infield single by Smith with the throw getting past the first baseman. Sears also singled home a run.
A single and three walks forced home the final run in the sixth inning.
In 2010, the Lady Jaguars ended the regular season with an 11-game win streak. They would extend the streak to 18 games through the district, region, and into the state tournament. So a 10-game streak is not a big surprise to Strong.
“That’s what we expect to do. We expect to win them all,” he said.