By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
LOUISVILLE—North Laurel coach Becki Osborne said her team was a little down after dropping three games in the Ballard Invitational. They shouldn’t be.
“I told them the schedule was not put together for us to go undefeated,” Osborne said.
The Lady Jaguars took the state’s No. 4 ranking into the tournament before losing to Ballard 3-1, Owensboro Catholic 3-2, and Boyle County 4-0. All three opponents were ranked in the top 10.
“I think our ranking will drop. I have really never been a big fan of rankings anyway,” Osborne said. “I know you have to have rankings to see where teams stand, but I’m more of a play game by game and see how you do. It doesn’t really matter where you are ranked until after state tournament.”
The Lady Jaguars toughest loss was to No. 2 ranked Owensboro Catholic. North Laurel took a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning. Just when Owensboro rallied to take the lead, the game was called on a time limit.
“I’m not disappointed in how we played. We played really good competition,” Osborne said.
The Lady Jaguars were also making a move late against No. 5 Ballard.
“We made a run on Ballard in the last inning. We had the pitcher rattled. We just couldn’t pull it out,” Osborne said.
The Ballard pitcher, Jessica Adell, has committed to the University of Tennessee and the catcher to North Carolina.
“Their pitcher was a converted centerfielder and athletic as all get out. She was throwing it 63 miles per hour,” Osborne said.
Boyle County pitcher Hannah Minniard shut down North Laurel with 17 strikeouts.
“She had a very effective rise ball and she hit her spots,” Osborne said. “I didn’t think we would go winless, but we knew we had the possibility of getting beat.”
Osborne did see a couple of areas she feels her team needs to improve. She would like to see better base running and more communication in the field.
“We need that one girl, whoever it is, to step up and be a leader more than anything,” Osborne said. “Our six seniors want to be more vocal but they aren’t sure yet. That will come with more game experience.”
North Laurel’s game with Corbin Monday was cancelled due to weather. The Lady Jaguars are scheduled to host Dublin Coffman (OH) Thursday.