By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MANCHESTER—North Laurel is starting to look like North Laurel. The Lady Jaguars have won four in a row since opening the season 4-5.
“It’s a definite confidence boost. They were down when we were losing quite a few games. You can tell their confidence is coming back up,” North Laurel coach Becki Osborne said.
North Laurel wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the district tournament by sweeping Jackson County and Clay County Monday by a combined 26-1 with neither game going the distance. The Lady Jaguars needed just five innings for a 13-0 win over Jackson County. Still it was closer than the 15-0 win in three innings last year.
“(Clay County) and Jackson County I was quite surprised with. They have improved leaps and bounds,” Osborne said.
Walks accounted for much of the offense, including five walks in the seven-run third inning and four walks in the six-run fourth inning. North Laurel managed just six hits against the Lady Generals.
“We just couldn’t wait. We just kept on swinging and we would hit a blooper or pop up,” Osborne said.
Kayla Huff went 2-for-2 to continue her hot hitting.
“She’s been hitting the ball great. She’s hitting .800, four out of five,” Osborne said.
Mikayla Vires pitched for the win, allowing a pair of hits.
“She pitched good. She’s hitting her spots well. There are still a few things we need to work on,” Osborne said. “(Mikayla), as well as Megan (Baldwin), is starting to realize how important it is to hit your spots.”
The Lady Jaguars’ second game Monday was a 13-1 win over Clay County in six innings. Baldwin earned the win, but did allow seven hits to the Lady Tigers. Baldwin worked her way out of trouble with 11 strikeouts.
“They were putting the ball in play. She was pitching good too,” Osborne said.
North Laurel hit the ball much better against Clay County with 16 hits. Farris Strong and Blake Johnson had three hits each, including a double. Vanessa Smith, Emily Sears, and Baldwin had two hits each.
North Laurel scored a run in the first inning and three more in the third. They started to put the game away with a five-run fifth inning. The big shot in the inning was Johnson’s two-run double.
A four run sixth inning included a two-run single by Sears. Johnson and Strong also had RBI in the inning.
The Lady Jaguars were scheduled to play at South Laurel last night and at McCreary Central Monday.