By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
One win away.
That’s all the North Laurel 9-10 year old all-stars need to advance to this week’s state tournament, scheduled to start July 6 at North Laurel Little League.
With Thursday night’s 10-0 win over Pulaski County in the winner’s bracket final, North Laurel would have to have lost two straight games over the weekend to either Clay County or Pulaski County to be denied the chance to play in the state.
“I’m confident that we are ready to play,” coach Jonathan Sizemore said. “We want to win the first game and not have to play a second, then we can concentrate on what comes next.”
It was another stellar performance on the mound for Daria Casey, who pitched a no hitter in her three innings of work, striking out seven and walking just two. Maddie Dagley came in to pitch the fourth, striking out two batters.
“Daria pitched another great game, and Maddie did a great job in the fourth,” Sizemore said.
The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the second when North Laurel touched pitcher Kaitlyn Gwin for four runs on four hits for the early lead.
Haven Houston got things started with a lead off single, and advanced to second on an error. Maylee Philpot continued swinging a hot bat with a double that plated Houston for the 1-0 lead. She would score on a ground out by Emma Thompson to make it 2-0. After Meg Anderson walked, Dagley hit into a fielder’s choice. Both runners scored on a single by Casey for the 4-0 lead.
Pulaski County managed only two base runners the entire game. After walking Kaylee Strunk to lead off the top of the second, Casey struck out the next three batters to leave the runner stranded. Then in the third, with one out, McKenzie Goodin walked, but was thrown out at second trying to steal.
North Laurel put the game away in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs to up its lead to 8-0.
Alissa Smith led off with a walk and scored on a single by Houston. The ball was misplayed in left field and Houston kept running, scoring on the error to make it 6-0. Philpot walked and later stole home to up the lead to 7-0. The eighth run came when Emily Sizemore reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Tia Gambrel.
Two more runs came home in the bottom of the fourth to end the game with the Mercy Rule, 10-0.
Taylor Jones led off with a triple and scored on a single by Kambrie Collier. Ashlyn Tyree came in to run for Collier and scored when Houston singled.
“I’m happy with the win,” Sizemore said. “We played as a team. All the girls did their part.”