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Abby Sears and teammates Courtney Brock, Ashley Wampler and Brittany Lawson cry as the come off the field following their heartbreaking 6-5 loss in the championship game of the state softball tournament to Greenwood.

OWENSBORO—The North Laurel Lady Jaguars did not win the state championship, but they went down in a blaze of glory as they defeated the No. ranked team in the state (Owensboro Catholic) to fight their way out of the consolation bracket before being defeated 6-5 by Greenwood in the championship game.

“We put on a heck of show,” North Laurel coach Shane Weaver said. “I said all along it was our goal to get there, but I didn’t know we could do it by going through Scott County, Ryle and Owensboro Catholic. I don’t know what to say. They never gave up right to the very end.”

The championship game proved to be a heavy weight battle between the two best teams in the state. While North Laurel had not allowed a run since the first inning of the Cumberland game (in the 13th Region tournament), Greenwood had not allowed a run in post season play.

The two teams came out swinging early as the Lady Jaguars jumped out to a 2-0 advantage to prove they were not going to lie down to start their third consecutive game in the near 90 degree weather.

Rachel Akins hit an RBI double for the 1-0 lead and Sidney Herrell slide home safe on a fielder’s choice by Brittany Lawson for the 2-0 advantage.

“I was deeply impressed with the way we scored two runs right off the bat,” Weaver said. “Starting out the game they put the pressure on.”

The Lady Gators responded in the bottom of the first inning with four runs on five hits. A double, an RBI single, another double and a three run home run gave the Gators the 4-2 lead as Megan Taylor was sent to the mound for Carrie Cobb. Taylor struck out the next three batters.

“Megan has pretty good stuff,” Weaver said. “We needed to change up the pace. They already saw Abby in the morning and we were hoping to get through the first game.”

The Lady Jaguars battled back to regain the lead in the top of the second inning with three runs on four hits. Woods and Haley Hensley lead off with singles. Abby Sears hit an RBI single to close the gap at 4-3 and Akins came through again with a two run single for the 5-4 advantage.

The Lady Gators then added two more home runs, one in the bottom of the third inning and another in the bottom of the fifth inning to seal the deal.

“This year was so rewarding,” Weaver said. “We won 37 games with a very tough schedule. If Greenwood didn’t have nine seniors and they had six, who knows. I love those kids. They have busted their tail for me and just grinded it out.”

North Laurel 5 Ryle 0

The Lady Jaguars started off Saturday with a hard fought 5-0 win over the No. 4 team in the state Ryle.

“Our whole game plan was to come in and attack,” Weaver said. “We are focused right now.”

Once again the Lady Jaguars grinded it out until late in the game when Sears and Taylor broke it open by scoring in the fifth inning. After the first run crossed the plate, Weaver knew his team would keep it going.

“We battled and played good defense up until that point,” Weaver said. “I’m glad it came. We were looking at scoring one or two runs, but five was a bonus.”

Greenwood 5 North Laurel 0

The roles were reversed in the second game of the day as Greenwood battled Sears before breaking through late for the 5-0 win.

A two run single in the bottom of the fourth inning gave the Lady Gators the 2-0 lead and opened the door for more.

The Lady Jaguars put runners on the corners in the top of the fifth inning with singles by Sears and Taylor, but could not push across a run to get back in the game.

The Lady Gators added three more runs in the sixth inning on a RBI single and a two run double for the 5-0 lead.

North Laurel 1 Owensboro Catholic 0

A game that could have been for the state championship paired up the No. 1 team in the state and the No. 2 team in the state as North Laurel defeated Owensboro Catholic 1-0 to advance to the state championship.

As it turned out deuces beat Aces on the river as No. 22 Sears broke through with an RBI double in the top of the fifth inning for the 1-0 lead over the Lady Aces.

Megan Taylor stepped up with a base hit, but Herrell was thrown out at home to end the fifth inning. Sears took the mound for the final two innings after Cobb held the Lady Aces in check.

KHSAA Girls’ Fastpitch State Softball Tournament

at Jack C. Fisher Park, Owensboro

Friday’s Games

First round

Anderson Co. 6, Clark Co. 0; Ballard 8, Pleasure Ridge Park 2; Greenwood 6, Christian Co., 0; North Laurel 7, Central Hardin 0; Lawrence Co. 2, Reidland 1; Owensboro Catholic 9, Estill Co., 1; Ryle 3, Garrard Co. 0; Scott Co. 6, Rowan Co. 3

Second round

Owensboro Catholic 3, Lawrence Co. 1; Greenwood 15, Anderson Co. 0; Ryle 2, Ballard 1; North Laurel 4, Scott Co. 0.

Consolation bracket, loser out

First round

Reidland 9, Estill Co. 2; Christian Co. 13, Clark Co. 0; Garrard Co. 11, Pleasure Ridge Park 0.

Second round

Reidland 1, Scott Co. 0; Anderson Co. 1, Garrard Co. 0; Christian Co. 5, Ballard 1; Central Hardin 8, Lawrence Co. 3.

Saturday’s games

Winner’s bracket

Third round

Greenwood 1, Owensboro Catholic 0; North Laurel 1, Owensboro Catholic 0; Owensboro Catholic 5, Ryle 4; Owensboro Catholic 8, Christian Co. 2.

Consolation bracket, loser out

Third round

Anderson Co. 5, Central Hardin 3; Christian Co. 3, Reidland 2; Ryle 2, Anderson Co. 1.

Semifinals

Greenwood 5, Noth Laurel 0

North Laurel 5, Ryle 0

Championship

Greenwood 6, North Laurel 5

North Laurel 230 000 0—5 7 1

Greenwood 401 010 x—6 8 2

W—Riley; L—Taylor. 2B—Akins (NL); Smith (G); Walden (G); Green (G); Bailey (G). HR—Walden (G), Green (G), Bailey (G).

Records—Greenwood 37-9, North Laurel 36-8

All-Tournament Team

MVP—Rachel Riley (Greenwood)

Greenwood—Amanda Walden, Lindsey Green and Laura Smith; North Laurel—Abby Sears, Rachel Akins, Megan Taylor; Ryle—Kristen Allen, Amanda Brumback; Owensboro Catholic—Emily Jolly, Hadley Clark.







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