WILLIAMSBURG — Better late than never.
With the game scoreless and a runner on first, South Laurel took advantage of a Knox Central miscue and defeated the Lady Panthers, 1-0, to advance to Wednesday’s 13th Region Fastpitch Tournament championship game.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and no one on, Aubree Laster connected with a hit, and then stole second base before seeing Chloe Taylor’s fly ball to the outfield misplayed, allowing Laster to score and give South Laurel the win.
“Aubree’s hit and stolen base were huge,” South Laurel coach Carly Mink said. “She’s really fast. She puts the ball on the ground, she usually gets a hit.
“We knew Chloe was going to make contact,” she added. “I just wished it was a line drive instead of a pop up but it got the job done. A win is a win.”
The two teams had played earlier this season with South Laurel coming away with a 16-1 win. The Lady Panthers had reeled off 19 straight wins since the loss to the Lady Cardinals, leading Mink to tell her team before the game this wasn’t the same Knox Central squad they met on April 20.
“We told them we’d not beat them by 15 runs like we did the first time,” she said. “We knew it would be a battle. They’re a good team and really improved.”
It was a game with very few base runners and hits as both pitchers, Karly Gray And Amber Partin, dominates in the pitcher’s circle.
South Laurel’s Gray allowed only three hits and walked one batter while striking out 13, and Knox Central’s Partin limited South Laurel to five hits while walking one batter and striking out four.
“Karly Gray pitched great. She held them when we couldn’t generate any runs. It was really the battle off he pitchers. She had good control and really pitched an overall good team.”
Taylor, Gray, Katie Jervis, Kylie Clem and Laster each finished with hits for the Lady Cardinals.
South Laurel will face-off against North Laurel Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the University of the Cumberlands.
The two teams played on April 16 with the Lady Cardinals coming away with a 5-4 win.
“We have had a lot of ups and downs,” Mink said. “I feel like mentally we will be ready to go. We’ve got to be prepared and make the plays and hit the ball.”