May 1, 2013

Long ball leads South Laurel past Dixie Hts. and McCreary Central

By Denis House
Sports Editor

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — In South Laurel’s final two games in the rain shortened Martin’s Peterbilt Classic, the Lady Cardinals smacked six home runs, three by Amber Hyde, in wins over Dixie Heights and McCreary Central.

South Laurel (17-4) hit four in Friday night’s 14-0 rout of Dixie Heights, as Hyde went deep twice, and Hagan Burns and Cassandra Johnson added the other two.

Then on Saturday, Hyde smacked a two-run homer in South’s 7-5 win over McCreary Central.

“We wore the ball out against Dixie Heights,” South Laurel coach James Burns said.

It was a 1-0 game until the third when South Laurel scored five times. The Lady Cards added three in the fourth, then five more in the fifth to complete the 14-0 win.

Hyde drove in three runs, while Burns drove in five. Johnson added two RBIs, as did Megan Smith. Brittany Vandeventer and Bailey Miller also drove in runs.

Burns picked up the win, allowing just one hit while striking out five.

On Saturday, South Laurel jumped out to a 6-0 lead on McCreary Central, then held on for the 7-5 win in five innings when the game was called due to the time limit.

“We weren’t as focused as we were the night before, but we battled through,” Burns said. “We hit the ball well. McCreary has a good team. They beat Southwestern.”

The Lady Cards scored three runs in the top of the first for the early advantage.

Johnson led off by getting hit by a pitch. She stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch. After Vandeventer and Hyde both fouled out, Burns kept the inning alive with a single to right. Miller followed with a double to right-center. Both runners scored when Smith singled to right.

Three more Lady Cardinal runs in the top of the second pushed the lead to 6-0. All three runs were scored with two outs.

Johnson singled to left and stole second. She scored on a single by Vandeventer. Hyde then stepped to the plate and took a 2-0 pitch and deposited it over the centerfield fence to make it 6-0. For the season, Hyde now has nine home runs and 31 RBIs.

Just when it looked like South Laurel was cruising, the Lady Raiders started to make a comeback, scoring two in the second and one in the third to cut the lead to 6-4.

South Laurel got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth when Burns hit a solo home run to put her team up 7-3.

Still McCreary Central (9-10) wouldn’t go away, scoring twice in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 7-5.  And error with two outs kept the inning alive and the next batter, Kisha Gibson, made South pay with a two-run double, cutting the lead to two and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Megan Ross.

Ross grounded to Johnson at short, and her throw to Miller at first was in the dirt, but Miller made a nice scoop on the play to get the runner and end the game.

“Bailey bailed us out on that last play,” Burns said. “We need these type of games for us to learn to put a team away when we have to.”

The Lady Cards were scheduled to travel to Corbin Tuesday night and will host Madison Central Thursday.