CARTHAGE, Mo.—Kentucky’s hopes of advancing to the girls’ Little League World Series came to an end Tuesday with an 8-4 loss to Illinois.

“We just had a bad game,” coach James Burns said. “We’re glad to have been here, and we had a good run.”

Not only did Kentucky commit three errors in the first inning that contributed to four Illinois runs, but it was also facing medical problems, with Hagan Burns still ill and Christian Carpenter hampered with an ear infection. “We had two girls in urgent care in the past two days,” Burns said. “Hagan was still sick, running a fever and had no energy. But they hung in there and did their best.”

Destiney Salva started the game for Kentucky, but four hits and three errors helped Illinois take a 4-0 lead before Burns came in and relieved Salva, striking out the next two batters. “They hit Destiney hard, but we should’ve been out of the inning without giving up any runs,” Burns said.

Kentucky answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, as Tori Bell and Jenna Carney reached base and were scored on a single by Burns. Karli Parker then drove in Burns, cutting the lead to 4-3. Kentucky had runners on second and third with one out, but the next two batters struck out, ending the threat.

Brittany Vandeventer then came in to pitch for Kentucky, and she held Illinois scoreless until the fourth, when she gave up three runs as Illinois took a 7-3 lead. Kentucky got one of those runs back in the fifth when Kayla Huff singled and was driven in my McKenzie Mills. Two more errors in the sixth led to the final run of the game, as Illinois advanced with an 8-4 win.

“I told the girls that very few teams from South London advanced as far as we did,” Burns said. “We finished 3-2, had a winning record here. Errors just got to us. I feel we were better; we just got a few bad breaks. We were just as good as they were.”

Denis House can be reached at sports@sentinel-echo.com

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