North Laurel ran out of fingernails.
Coming off a dramatic walk-off win against Harlan, the breaks went against North Laurel 9-10 Girls All Stars in a 16-15 extra-inning loss to Clay County.
“I thought we played great. They played hard for as young as they are,” North Laurel coach Danny Orr said.
The North Laurel All Stars are made up mostly of 9-year-olds and only one player, Madison Sechrest, that had All-Star experience.
“I was hoping to get a little further than we did,” Orr said.
North Laurel didn’t look like a team that would go far in an 11-1 first round loss to Tri-Cities.
“We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t show how good we could play,” Orr said.
They looked like a team that didn’t want to lose in the next two games.
North Laurel opened the scoring against Clay County with a first inning run. Emily Albright singled and scored on a double by Lexi Spitser. Clay County answered with a four-run first inning, although most of their damage was from three walks and three errors.
North Laurel regained the lead with four runs in the second inning. Courtney Carroll and Hannah Vires walked. Kelsie Patton and Albright were hit by pitches to force home a run. Sechrest drove in another run when she hit into a fielder’s choice. Makenzie Morris drove in a pair of runs with a double for a 5-4 lead.
Clay County tied the game in the bottom of the second and took the lead with a pair of runs in the third.
North Laurel nearly applied the knockout with a seven-run fourth inning. Sechrest, Patton, and Emily Orr all drove in runs with base hits. Spitser and Carroll both drove in a pair of runs. Morris and Vires also had hits in the inning as North Laurel sent 11 batters to the plate.
Clay County made it 12-10 with three runs in the fourth, capped by Bailey Hubbard’s three-run homer.
North Laurel went scoreless the last two innings, which gave Clay County a chance to rally. A pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Clay County. The game was forced into extra innings when Ema Hurd’s shot down the third base line hit the bag, allowing two runs to score.
North Laurel came out hitting in the seventh inning. Sechrest led off with a single and scored on a double by McDaniel. Morris singled to score McDaniel and later scored on a wild throw.
One of the runs would be costly. When McDaniel scored, she went to the ground hard on a collision at home plate. McDaniel had also been hit by a line drive earlier in the game that she did make a play on. But the combination of the two injuries led to McDaniel not being able to complete the seventh inning on the mound.
Lauren Smith led off the seventh for Clay County with a long inside-the-park home run. Whitney Sizemore reached on an error and Chloe Parks doubled. Albright was pressed into action to replace the injured McDaniel and issued a walk to Bailey Hubbard that loaded the bases. A walk to Jade Estep forced in a run. Parks scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. Albright struck out the next batter, but a single by Carlie Hoskins would drive in the winning run.
The loss knocks North Laurel out of the tournament, but not without plenty of drama. North Laurel needed a seven-run sixth inning Tuesday night to outlast Harlan 20-18. Morris had the game-winning hit with a base-clearing triple that scored Spitser, McDaniel, and Sechrest.
Mitch Howard can be reached at email@example.com.