LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
OWENSBORO—Another good start propelled North Laurel to a 6-1 win over Green County in its fourth state tournament game. The two runs in the first inning would have been enough the way the defense played.
“It does seem like we play better when we get off to a good start,” Strong said. “That’s a common statement that coaches make, but it means a lot to us.”
Kailin Yantz legged out an infield single to get North Laurel started. Kristin Fields followed with a long drive that almost left the park and sent the Green County centerfielder crashing into the fence. Fields settled for a triple, but scored on the play anyway due to an error.
“(Fields) has great power. She has five home runs this year. Honestly I thought if she got her pitch she might get one that game because the speed was just right.”
From there the defense took charge for North Laurel. Green County had runners on first and third with one out before Megan Baldwin struck out the next two batters.
Two singles in the third inning looked like trouble. Instead Vanessa Smith caught a fly ball and threw to her cutoff, Baldwin. Baldwin threw back to Sidney Herrell at second to catch the runner trying to advance.
A Baldwin to Herrell to Fields double play ended a fourth inning threat. In the fifth inning, Fields picked a bunt out of the air and then threw to third to catch the runner off base.
“When we are relaxed, we are a great defensive team,” Strong said. “It’s not the situation in the game, it’s the pressure we put on ourselves.”
North Laurel made the lead much safer with a four-run sixth inning. Two of the runs scored on a Blake Johnson single. Mikayla Vires followed with an RBI single.
“Since this morning we said we’re just going to go out and play as hard as we can play. We’re going to leave it all on the field. Since then our whole demeanor has changed,” Strong said.
Green County would push their only run across in the bottom of the seventh with the help of a walk and an error.