May 8, 2013

Weather wins Team Jaguar Invitational

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — North Laurel played three games in its own Team Jaguar Invitational over the weekend. Although they didn’t lose a game, the eventual winner would be the rain.

What the Lady Jaguars did was get two very close games and a chance to test a new batting order.

Saturday’s game

North Laurel 1, Greenup County 0 (8 innings)

After beating Greenup County 11-1 Friday night, the Lady Jaguars got a rematch on Saturday. The second meeting, played in a steady rain, would be much tougher.

North Laurel left 11 base runners stranded, including two double plays with the bases loaded. The Lady Jaguars also failed to score in the sixth inning after loading the bases with no outs. North Laurel had 11 hits to five for Greenup County. Greenup County left five runners on base.

North Laurel finally ended the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Emily Sears jumped on the first pitch for a leadoff single to left field. After a hard line out by Mikayla Vires, Farris Strong beat out an infield hit. The Greenup County shortstop made a diving stop to her backhand side, but had trouble getting a handle on the slippery softball. Sidney Herrell put an ended to the game with a clutch single to score Sears.

Although Megan Baldwin did not allow a run, she struck out only three batters compared to 11 in the first meeting with Greenup County.

Friday’s games

North Laurel 3, Green County 3

The last time North Laurel and Green County met the stakes much higher. The Lady Jaguars won 6-1 in last year’s state tournament. This time they met in the first round of the Team Jaguar Invitational Tournament. Not only were the stakes lower, nothing was settled.  They would play to a 3-3 tie before the game was called after seven innings due to the time limit.

North Laurel jumped out to the early lead with three runs in the second inning. That would be all they scored.

Vanessa Smith opened the inning with a single. Blake Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice when the throw to second base was dropped. A bunt by Farris Strong moved both runners ahead. That set up a two-run single by Megan Baldwin. Emily Sears battled in a long at bat before reaching on a single. Kayla Huff, running for Baldwin, scored on a two-out single by Sidney Herrell.

Green County, playing as the home team in this game, got one run back in the bottom of the second. Kayla Bale blooped a soft double over third base. She scored when a throw got away on a steal of third base.

Baldwin continued to keep the Lady Dragons in check until Brianna Scott rifled a leadoff home run to left field on a 2-2 pitch. Bale would get the rally started again with a bunt single. An error allowed Bale to score the tying run.

Both teams left two runners stranded in the fifth inning. North Laurel threatened again in the sixth, starting with a two-out single by Emily Sears. Mikayla Vires followed with a double to left field,but a perfect relay throw from the outfield nailed Sears at the plate. The Lady Jaguars also left a runner stranded in the seventh.

Baldwin allowed five hits and one earned run with six strikeouts and no walks. North Laurel had nine hits, but left seven runners stranded.

North Laurel 11, Greenup County 1

The Lady Jaguars shook up the lineup and also shook up Greenup County with a fast start.

North Laurel scored three runs in the first inning beginning with a leadoff single by McKenzie Mills. Mills was making her first start at the leadoff spot. Kailin Yantz walked and Megan Baldwin reached on an error. Blake Johnson and Farris Strong followed with singles.

North Laurel added a pair of runs in the third inning. Mikayla Vires, also hitting higher in the lineup, stroked a two-out double. Strong blasted an RBI triple and scored on a single by Sidney Herrell.

Vanessa Smith singled in the fourth inning and scored on a fielder’s choice by Johnson.

A five-run fifth inning included a two run double by Yantz and RBI singles by Mills and Strong.

Baldwin limited Greenup County to four hits with 11 strikeouts.