By Les Dixon
CNHI News Service
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
It took the North Laurel All-Stars Minor League fastpitch squad two innings to get things going against Pulaski County in the District 4 title game Saturday, but once they did, they were hard to stop.
Jon Sizemore’s squad broke open a 0-0 tie in the third inning by scoring six runs and added seven more in the fourth inning to capture their second straight 9-10 year-old District 4 championship by defeating the Pulaski County All-Stars, 13-1.
North Laurel cruised past its competition the entire week in the tournament and will now try to make a run beginning next week at the state level.
“This was a great run for us,” Sizemore said. “I’m tickled to death with the girls. We had good hitting, good pitching and good defense. When you have all three of those and add them together, you’re going to be tough to beat.
“We never really felt like we were behind any at all during the tournament the entire week,” he added. “The girls came ready to play and they showed that this past week.”
Pitcher Daria Casey was a big reason why opposing teams couldn’t get anything going against North Laurel. She was tough in the circle the entire tournament and continued her domination against Pulaski County. She limited her opponent Saturday to no runs in three innings of work while striking out six batters and allowing no hits and only one walk during the process. Maddie Dagley pitched the final inning of play for North Laurel and struck out two batters.
“We received great hitting and pitching out there. Our hitting and pitching out there was great,” Sizemore said. “Daria pitched great for us this tournament and when the few times the other teams put the bat on the ball, we made the plays.
“Daria pitched excellent every game, all week long, and when Maddie came in for us, she always closed things out for us,” he added. “I’m really proud of all of the girls.”
Sizemore admitted his team’s slow start at the plate was maybe because of his team battling a case of early game nerves while trying to get used to Pulaski County’s pitcher.
“We might have been nervous just a bit because it was the finals of the tournament,” he said. “I also thought we were trying to get used to the pitcher early on, but after we went through the line-up, we were fine.”
Emily Sizemore got things going in the third inning after consecutive walks put runners on first and second. Her single scored the game’s first run and that’s when North Laurel began to take control. Casey added two-run double in the inning and by the time the inning had ended, North Laurel held a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Sizemore’s squad put the game away the following inning with seven runs, as Sizemore, Dagley, Kambrie Collier, Haven Houston and Casey each delivered run-scoring hits to give their team a 13-0 edge.
Pulaski County tried to rally in the bottom of the fourth inning, but could only push across one run.
“Once we settled in and got some runs and some base runners on, we just started to score,” Sizemore said. “This is a good team. I like our chances at state. If we come ready to play, I do like our chances. We have a good team that can pitch, play defense and hit the ball.”
Les Dixon is the sports editor of The Times Tribune.