By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The South Laurel Lady Cardinals became only the eighth team in Kentucky to record 500 wins in fastpitch softball Tuesday night with an 8-1 win over visiting Lincoln County.
But it didn’t come easy. At least not for the first five innings, where the Lady Cards held a slim 2-1 lead.
Then came the bottom of the sixth.
Chelsea Wemes and Amber Hyde both smacked two-run homers in the inning to blow the game open and bring the 500th win to the program.
“Big game, big win,” South Laurel coach James Burns said. “Five hundred wins. It’s exciting for the program. Kaye and Larry (Smith, the previous coaches) got the majority of the wins. I’m just here for the 500th. We’ve had good players come through the program, and we are the second team in the county to reach that mark, along with North Laurel. That says a lot about softball in Laurel County.”
The Lady Cardinals now have a record of 500-189-1, tying them for seventh in the state along with George Rogers Clark’s 500-212. North Laurel is the all-time leader in wins with a record of 594-137-1, and are only six wins away from the 600 win mark.
“I’m relieved to get it over with,” Burns said. “Glad it’s over. But we’ve got to keep working. We’ve got a big game against Corbin Thursday.”
Lincoln County took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Chelsea Marcum walked and scored on a single by Jaylan Sowders, one of only two hits Hagan Burns gave up in the game.
South Laurel (10-4) answered in the bottom of the inning when Burns, Bailey Miller and Megan Smith hit consecutive singles and Mackenzie Powenski, running for Burns, scored the tying run.
It stayed 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth when Cassandra Johnson tripled and scored on a wild pitch for the 2-1 lead.
Then came the bottom of the sixth and the wheels fell off for Lincoln County (6-9). South scored six runs on eight hits to take the 8-1 win.
With one out, Smith singled to left, and Madyson Morris came in to run for her. Wemes then took a two-strike pitch and deposited it over the left field fence to make it 4-1.
Nell Murray followed with a double, then Laura Williams singled. Johnson grounded out to first which allowed Murray to score to up the lead to 5-1. The ball got away at home and Williams scored to make it 6-1.
Brittany Vandeventer singled to right where the ball was misplayed, allowing her to end up on second. Hyde then took an 0-2 pitch and homer to make it 8-1.
“Both home runs came with two strikes,” Burns said.
Burns then retired the side in order in the top of the seventh.
“Hagan pitched awesome,” Burns said. “She had her stuff working.” She struck out nine batters and walked only one.
“We hit the ball early, we just didn’t get any runs in,” Burns said. “We played spot on defense tonight. We’ve lost only one game in the state (a 1-0 loss to Scott County). We had a big win over the weekend winning the Corbin tournament. Chris (Hart, Corbin’s coach) put on an awesome tournament and we were honored to win it.”
The Lady Cards played Corbin last night and are scheduled to play both Rockcastle County and Bell County tonight at Rockcastle County.