TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
SOUTH LAUREL — South Laurel coach James Burns admitted he had a good feeling coming into Tuesday’s cross-town showdown with defending 13th Region champion North Laurel.
He noticed how good his players were hitting before the game and thought it would carry over.
He was right.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, South Laurel’s bats did just what their coach thought they would do in the bottom half of the first inning.
The Lady Cardinals collected three hits off freshman pitcher Mikayla Vires and scored five runs in the process en route to the Lady Cardinals’ 6-4 win over North Laurel.
“It’s a big win, but still, it’s the next one that matters,” South Laurel coach James Burns said. “We started off well and hit alright. We played good defense and Megan (Smith) pitched a good game.
“I’m very proud of them and they came up during batting practice and they were just ripping it,” he added. “They were just focused and ready to play. When we are focused, we can play.”
The Lady Jaguars saw just that after taking a 1-0 edge thanks to a run-scoring single by Blake Johnson. South Laurel proceeded in the bottom of the inning by taking advantage of two straight walks, while Amber Hyde’s single loaded the bases and set things up for Hagan Burns.
Burns followed with a three-run single while Bailey Miller delivered a run-scoring single and eventually scored from third on a passed ball, giving the Lady Cardinals a comfortable 5-1 lead.
“You can’t get down on a team 5-1,” North Laurel coach Becky Osborne said. “I thought we played well after the first inning. But you know that first inning did happen and that is a loss for us.”
But North Laurel didn’t go down without a fight.
The Lady Jaguars began chipping away at their deficit, scoring two runs in the second inning after a two-run single by Makenzie Mills, making the score 4-3.
Mills led the fifth inning with a single and was later driven in by Vanessa Smith’s groundout, cutting South Laurel’s lead to 5-4.
An error in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed the Lady Cardinals to pick up an insurance run that seemed to sink the sails of North Laurel.
Brittany Vandeventer reached base after Emily Sears’ throw was off target and she eventually scored thanks to a bloop single by Hyde, giving South Laurel a 6-4 edge.
“I don’t think Emily realizes how hard she throws,” Osborne said. “She kind of gets in a hurry sometimes, but that’s something she’ll fix before we play them again.”
The Lady Cardinals wrapped up the win in the top of the seventh inning, sitting North Laurel down in order.
“We just never did get that two out hit,” Burns said. “The two-out is big. But it was a big win and it’s always a big win when you beat somebody that’s won almost 600 games. They’re a good team and always have been a good team.”