By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
LONDON — The North Laurel 11-12-year-old All Stars continue to make themselves at home as they host the District 4 Tournament after a 14-1 win over Corbin Thursday gave North Laurel the winner’s bracket championship.
The win puts North Laurel one win away from moving on to the state tournament and coach Kevin Houston said afterward he likes his team’s chances no matter which team they face in the next game.
“We’re playing good softball right now,” Houston said. “And we’re playing good as one unit, all in one accord with no distractions or drama.
“Our kids are focused on this tournament and they knew our goals coming in,” he added. “We’ve been able to remain focused and when you can do that and keep all the distractions out, it really makes a difference with your team.”
Jaz Jervis led the way for North Laurel at the plate, and also earned the win in the circle. Jervis was 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.
Thursday’s mercy-rule win came over a Corbin team that had been the surprise of the tournament up until Thursday’s loss, having picked up wins over Tri-Cities and Clay County. With the team manager Jimmy Stidham serving a two-game suspension due to a substitution infraction against Clay County, stand-in coach Toby Wine said the change may have thrown Corbin off just enough to make a difference in Thursday’s loss.
“Any kind of change is enough to disrupt any kind of rhythm a team may have, especially at this age and level,” Wine said. “But you still have to come out and play the game and execute the way you’ve practiced, because the game itself doesn’t change.
“In addition to being without our head coach, we were also without our starting catcher, which also hindered us a little bit,” Wine added. “We played a really good North Laurel team today and they beat us and that’s what it comes down to.”
Corbin jumped ahead early when Kate Williams singled and moved to third on a pair of wild pitches. Kiana Wine brought Williams in to score with an RBI single giving Corbin its only run of the game.
North Laurel bounced back with a pair of runs in the second inning to grab a 2-1 lead and never looked back.
Two walks, four errors and six hits led to a 12-run third inning for North Laurel as its lead grew to 14-1 heading to the bottom of the third inning.