By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
North Laurel broke an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak by blasting Dublin Coffman (Ohio) 13-3 in five innings Thursday.
“I kind of knew tonight, where they had lost three straight this past weekend, that they were going to come out more aggressive at the plate,” North Laurel coach Becki Osborne said.
North Laurel had not lost three straight games since April 2009, a span of almost three years. There haven’t been many two-game losing streaks during that stretch either.
“It was a lot better than it was this weekend,” Osborne said.
The 13 runs scored were more than the combined total in the three losses at the Ballard Invitational.
The Lady Jaguars pushed across 13 runs in five innings despite their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters going hitless. Everyone else had at least one hit, including a big night for freshman McKenzie Mills. Mills reached base all three times. She showed her speed on an infield single and pop with a two-run double.
“If she had the confidence in herself that the coaches have then she would be doing that all the time. She’s got to have a little more experience and playing time and she will be a very key player,” Osborne said.
North Laurel opened the scoring in the first inning. Sidney Herrell singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Kailin Yantz. Yantz scored on a sacrifice fly by Megan Baldwin.
North picked up another run in the second inning. Emily Sears reached on an error and scored when Yantz drew a bases-loaded walk. Yantz reached base in all four of her at bats.
“They made the pitcher get up in the count and that is a key to wearing pitchers out is making their pitch count go higher and higher,” Osborne said. “Farris and Kailin both did really well with that.”
Dublin Coffman did get to Baldwin for an unearned run in the third inning. The Lady Jaguars responded with five runs in the bottom of the third for an 8-2 lead. The big hit in the inning was a two-run single by Herrell that led to a pitching change.
Dublin Coffman scratched out another run in the fourth inning with a pair of hits. Again North Laurel answered with a four-run inning. Mills’ two-run double to right center would be the big blow as the lead grew to 12-2.
North Laurel could have ended game by shutting out Dublin Coffman in the top of the fifth. A single, a walk , and an infield hit allowed them to prolong the game.
“(Megan) was hitting her spots well and that is one of the things we were working on in practice this week was fine-tuning some pitches and hitting some spots,” Osborne said.
They weren’t able to extend the game long with North Laurel getting the run to end it in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Mikayla Vires.
The Lady Jaguars are in Florida now for spring break with five games scheduled in Fort Walt Beach.