May 22, 2013

North keeps title streak alive

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Although the regular season didn’t always go the way they expected, the post season got off to a typical start for North Laurel. The Lady Jaguars got solid pitching and timely hitting to post an 8-1 win over Clay County in the 49th District title game. It was the eighth straight district title for the Lady Jaguars, who are seeking their seventh straight trip to the state tournament.

“I thought we looked good. We hit the ball. We got five two-out hits,” North Laurel coach Becky Osborne said. “We played defense well and Mikayla (Vires) pitched a heck of a game.”

North Laurel scored single runs in each of the first three innings. The home half of the first inning began with a leadoff single from Sidney Herrell. Herrell scored on a fly ball by Kailin Yantz.  Herrell’s hitting stroke coming back is another positive sign for the Lady Jaguars.

“Sidney is coming around. All it was with Sidney is confidence. Sidney wants to be a perfect ballplayer. As soon as she realizes she doesn’t have to have all that pressure on her and not all the weight of the world on her shoulders she started playing better,” Osborne said.

Emliy Sears singled in the second inning and scored on a single by Kayla Huff. In the third inning, it was Vanessa Smith drawing a walk and scoring on a Vires’ fly ball.

North Laurel pulled away with a five-run fifth inning. Farris Strong and Herrell each had RBI singles, but the big blow was a two-run single by Huff.

“Kayla Huff had two vital hits for us with those RBIs. She opened the game up for us. She’s playing exceptionally well right now,” Osborne said.

Clay County managed just one run off of Vires, but the Lady Tigers did get nine hits on the night.

“Clay County is a good hitting team. You can’t take anything away from them. They played good,” Osborne said.

Osborne said it was very important to secure district championship to make your region draw a little easier.

“I think this is probably one of the biggest years that you need to be a top seed to go into the region. There is really good competition,” Osborne said.