By Les Dixon / Staff Writer
ROWAN COUNTY — Both Corbin and South Laurel made a trip this past weekend to Rowan County to participate in the Rowan County Invitational with hopes of capturing the title championship.
James Burns’ Lady Cardinals managed to pull off the feat by going 3-0 while defeating Rowan County in the championship game, 4-1.
“I thought we played really good,” Burns said. “We made one error in the entire tournament, and received some great pitching.”
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.
“Hagan is pitching really good right now,” Burns said. “Our pitching was great. She had a two-run homer hit against her, but other than that, I thought she did a great job.”
Many were expecting South Laurel (5-0) to get off to 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.
“I expected us to start off a little slow early,” Burns said. “Especially with us having to play players in a lot of positions they’ve not played in before, but they have really done well.
“They really work very hard, and they listen so well,” he added. “When they do make a mistake, they listen, and correct it. I’m really pleased with the way we are playing right now. We’re not hitting the ball great, we left 10 runners on base in the championship game, but we’re playing hard and improving.”
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 Maggoffin 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.
Murray struck again with three hits in the title game while Hagan Burns and Shelby each added two apiece.
“I thought we beat three really good teams this past weekend,” Burns said. “We were able to get away and play some good softball.
“We were also able to go up against three solid pitchers,” he added. “It’s still a work in progress, but we are improving each game, and the girls are having fun. The girls have really bonded well and they are really close to each other. Overall, I thought we played really good.”
Chris Hart’s Lady Redhounds struggled in the tournament, as errors, and lack of hitting played a big role in their 0-3 mark over the weekend.
Corbin (1-4) opened with a 15-0 loss on Friday before losing Rowan County 6-0 on Saturday. The Lady Redhounds fell in their final of the tournament, losing to Maggoffin County, 5-1.
Pitcher Hannah Hart did record her 500th career varsity strikeout during the tournament.
“We did not play as well as I would have liked, but the tournament experience against good teams will only help us improve,” Hart said. “I will take the blame for our slow start and not having us ready to play this level of competition this soon into our season.
“We will continue to work and improve so that we are a better team by the time we return from our spring break tournament,” he added. “I saw some improvement as the tournament progressed and I am encouraged by my girls’ never quit attitude.”