North Laurel coach Shane Weaver has told his team the time for learning is over and now it’s time for winning. After back-to-back losses, the Lady Jaguars have responded with wins over Southwestern 8-0 Thursday and 4-1 over Halls (TN) Friday in the Kentucky Five Star Classic.
“We’ve had a wake-up call and our girls understand it’s time to play ball,” Weaver said. “It’s a combination of games, we’ve made the same errors in several of those games and tonight when faced with a chance to have the quicksand take us down we responded,” Weaver said.
North Laurel did commit one late fielding error against Halls, but it didn’t cost them. Overall they turned in a solid, workmanlike performance.
After two scoreless innings, the Lady Jaguars broke through with a run in the top of the third inning. Gloriann Cordero dropped a single in front of the right fielder. A swinging bunt single by Carrie Root and a single by Megan Taylor brought Cordero home.
North Laurel opened the fourth inning with a double by Blake Johnson. Johnson later scored on a wild pitch. Vanessa Smith walked with two outs. Cordero drove Smith in with a double to right center. Root fouled off three pitches before driving in the third run of the inning with a single.
“We had to manufacture some things with the short game and then we had some kids drive the ball,” Weaver said. “We did put four runs up on the board tonight as opposed to one the other night.”
The one-run game was a tough 3-1 loss to South Laurel Tuesday. The Lady Jaguars were also shut out a game earlier in a loss to Allen County-Scottsville in the Capital City Showcase.
“With the schedule that we’ve played, we can’t learn any more. We’ve got to do. Those things we found out were weaknesses we have to overcome them. We have to win ball games now,” Weaver said.
The four runs would be enough to win this night with Megan Taylor limiting Halls to one run on six hits with eight strikeouts.
“She threw great last night at Southwestern last night. Tonight she had the same kind of velocity and control. Halls was a good team from Knoxville,” Weaver said.
Halls only run came on a pair of hard hits in the fourth inning. A heads-up play by Root may have saved more damage. A pop up behind home plate skipped off the glove of Johnson at catcher. Root had hustled down from first base and grabbed the ball just before it hit the ground.
Halls put its first two runners on in the fifth inning. After a groundout, Taylor fanned the last two batters to end the inning. Halls also left a pair stranded in the sixth.
“She did a great job getting us out of a jam with her pitching,” Weaver said.
The game with Halls was stopped after six innings due to a time limit for the Kentucky Five Star Classic. What had been drawn up as a tournament format was redrawn as a round robin. One team dropped out due to a threat of severe weather and there was question the games would be played Saturday due to the predicted storms. The Lady Jaguars were scheduled to play again at 11 p.m. Friday against Lafayette.
Mitch Howard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org