TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

March 28, 2014

A New No. 1

Hot-hitting Kailin Yantz powers North Laurel to Fear ‘Les’ rankings top spot


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Les Dixon / Staff Writer

It’s been a rather interesting week of baseball and softball action on the diamond. We’re just one week into the young season, and I’ve got a new No. 1 ranked team in this week’s Fear ‘Les’ 13th Region Softball Diamond Rankings while there has been some movement in the baseball rankings as well, but just not at the top spot.

We’ve also seen some pretty impressive individual efforts this past week, too. With that said, it's time to stop rambling, and get down to business.

Softball

Player of the Week

Kailin Yantz, North Laurel — Yantz came into the season as one of the frontrunners for the Times-Tribune Tri-County Player of the Year award, and she is showing why. The right-handed sophomore is dominating at the plate so far this season for North Laurel. Yantz collected four hits, three homers, a triple and eight RBI this past week while turning in an impressive 1.364 slugging percentage.

500th strikeout

Corbin senior pitcher Hannah Hart collected her 500th career strikeout during the Rowan County Invitational this past weekend. Hart continues to show she’s one of the top pitchers in the state, while putting up impressive numbers in the process.

Sky is the limit

The South Laurel Lady Cardinals are undefeated at 5-0, and a big reason is because of the play of eighth-grader Makenzie Powenski, who has already established herself as one of the best hitters in the 13th Region. Powenski is second on the team with a .444 batting average. She is eight-of-18 on the season with six RBI, and a team-best 10 runs scored and six stolen bases.

Murray making noise

South Laurel’s Nell Murray is off to one of the best starts at the plate, going nine-of-15 for the season while batting a team-best .600. The Lady Cardinals graduated some of the best hitters in the region last season, and with Murray off to a torrid start, South Laurel has been a tough team to beat.

Making the transition

Harlan’s Jourdan Ledford has made the transition from the hardwood to the diamond look easy. She’s one of the best hitters on the Lady Dragon roster, and collected three hits while driving in three RBI during a 15-5 win over Oneida Baptist this past week.

Way to respond

After going 0-3 during the Rowan County Invitational, Chris Hart’s Corbin Lady Redhounds let it be known that they are a team to be reckoned with.

The Lady Redhounds pounded out 19 hits, and used a 12-run fifth inning during the 23-run win. Sydney Reynolds turned in her best hitting performance of the young season by going 4-for-5 at the plate while connecting with a home run and driving in three runs and teammate Katie Bernardo collected two hits and drove in a game-high six runs.

Whitley Gatliff went 4-for-5 with two RBI while Amber Allen collected three hits and drove in two runs. Hannah Hart picked up the win on the mound, tossing three inning, allowing only one hit and striking out eight batters while Meg Greene pitched the final two innings for Corbin.

Rowan County Invitational champions

James Burns’ South Laurel Lady Cardinals managed to win the Rowan County Invitational this past week by going 3-0 while defeating Rowan County in the championship game, 4-1.

Senior Hagan Burns continues to dominate on the mound, and improved to 5-0 on the season after posting three wins in the tournament while allowing only two earned runs.

Many were expecting South Laurel (5-0) to get off to a slow start after losing some key players to graduation which has forced Burns to start two eighth- graders and a handful of sophomores into the line-up, but so far, so good.

The Lady Cardinals opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over Maggoffin County Friday and followed with an 11-0 win over Menifee County before rolling past the Lady Vikings, 4-1.

Madyson Morris, Hagan Burns and Leslie Dixon each led the way with two hits apiece in the win against Magoffin County, as Burns also hit a two-run homer in the victory.

Makenzie Powenski had a double, triple and three RBI during South Laurel’s win over Menifee County while Nell Murray led the team with four RBI and finished the game with two hits along with Hagan Burns, Kaylee Norvell and Haley Shelby.

Baseball

Player of the Week

Kevin Goins, Corbin — It only took 60 pitches from Goins to lead Corbin past Knox Central during a 3-1 win. The Redhound senior has adjusted well in a short time from playing basketball, and moving straight over to the baseball team.

Surprising start

Rob Ledington’s Corbin Redhounds were ranked sixth coming into the season, and maybe I have underestimated them a tad bit. Corbin hung tough with one of the best teams in the region before losing a heartbreaker, and knocked off another (Knox Central). This team is talented, and the big thing is they’ve got a lot of heart. Add those two together and you’ve got a winning combination.

District battle

Both Clay County and North Laurel hooked up in a 49th District Classic this past week with the Jaguars pulling out a slim one-run win (6-5) in the ninth inning behind Byron Rice’s run-scoring single that scored Cole Lewis.

Still unbeaten

Wynn Harris’ South Laurel Cardinals have played a tough early season schedule and are sitting pretty at 6-0 on the season. The Cardinals have received solid hitting and pitching during the six-game win streak. Pitcher Zach Allen turned in a solid effort on the mound during an 8-0 win over Hazard, tossing three and two/third innings while allowing only two hits.