By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
On a cold night with gusty winds, North Laurel just wanted to go home early. After what North Laurel coach Becky Osborne had seen over the weekend, she thought the chances for a quick game were good.
“Whitley County is a good team, but the way we played this weekend I didn’t expect anything less. This weekend our bats came alive. Finally,” Osborne said.
The Lady Jaguars won three of four games in the Assumption Annual Crusade for Children over the weekend. They continued to roll with a 10-0, five-inning win over Whitley County Tuesday.
The North Laurel coach felt her team had been playing to the level of competition. They might play well against a good team, but mediocre against a lesser team. That may be changing at the right time. Osborne told her team she was not happy with being mediocre.
“It seems like everything is starting to come together. Hopefully we won’t get any more injuries and sicknesses and get ready for May,” Osborne said.
Whitley County was coming off a 16-11 error-aided win over South Laurel. The Lady Colonels momentum from that win and adverse weather could have been a bad mix for the Lady Jaguars.
“We seem to play better in bad weather. This weekend it was horrible and we played better,” Osborne said.
The Lady Jaguars stroked a dozen hits in five innings, led by three hits from Sidney Herrell. Four other players had two hits each.
In posting her ninth shutout of the season, Megan Baldwin limited the Lady Colonels to three hits and one walk. Only one runner made it to second base and that would be on consecutive errors. Baldwin had missed Saturday’s games due to illness with Mikayla Vires throwing both games.
“I’m tickled she’s feeling better. You could tell she was sick Saturday,” Osborne said. “You can’t take away from what Mikayla did Saturday. She was awesome.”
The Lady Jaguars opened the scoring Tuesday with a run in the first inning. Herrell led off with a single and scored on Kristin Fields’ double off the left field fence. North Laurel would go scoreless the next two innings, giving Whitley County a chance to rally. The Lady Colonels left runners stranded every inning.
North Laurel started to pull away with a four-run fourth inning. Kailin Yantz drove in two runs with a single. Farris Strong and Herrell also drove in runs.
With one out in the fifth inning, the Lady Jaguars pieced together four straight singles with Yantz, Strong, and Vires each driving in runs. The final two runs by Strong and Herrell each scored on wild pitches to end the game.
Assumption Annual Crusade for Children
North Laurel won three of four games over the weekend to place second in the Assumption Annual Crusade for Christ. After opening the tournament with a 6-2 win over Woodford County, the Lady Jaguars would have to scramble the lineup. Illness would sideline starting pitcher Megan Baldwin. Third baseman Emily Sears was already out with an injury. That would force two starting outfielders to switch positions with Mikayla Vires pitching and Vanessa Smith at third. Eighth grader McKenzie Mills and freshman Kayla Huff were thrust into the lineup and played well.
North Laurel posted a 10-4 win over Bethlehem and 6-5 over North Oldham to reach the championship game. North Oldham jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning behind a home run from Melissa Martineson. North Laurel tied the score with two runs in the second and one run in the third. A three-run fourth inning put them on top for good.
Fields, Yantz, Herrell, and Blake Johnson had two hits each for North Laurel.
Assumption pulled out a 5-2 win after being held hitless for the first couple of innings. Herrell again led the North Laurel offense with two hits and two walks.