By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
CORBIN — South Laurel senior Amber Hyde usually never swings at high pitches, but it was a good thing she did during the sixth inning of the 50th District championship game Wednesday.
Her two-run home run over the center field fence was just enough insurance, as the Lady Cardinals (26-6) captured their fourth straight 50th District championship in the process.
Despite getting a good cut at Corbin pitcher Hannah Hart’s curve ball, Hyde admitted she didn’t think she got enough of it to send the ball over the fence.
“I thought it was just going to be a little short, honestly,” Hyde said.
The senior catcher was hitless at the plate coming into the sixth inning and she said her main goal was just to try to get a hit.
“I was just trying to get a hit because I hadn’t had a hit all night,” Hyde said. “I was just wanting to get a line drive hit. It was a high pitch and I normally don’t swing at high pitches, and I just took it where it needed to go.”
Hyde’s homer was only one of four hits South Laurel could manage to get the entire game with Hart being on top of her game in the circle.
The only other run the junior standout allowed was a line drive run-scoring single up the middle by South Laurel’s Bailey Miller, which ended a scoreless game in the bottom of the fourth inning after seventh grader Makenzie Powenski touched home plate.
“It was a pitcher’s duel,” South Laurel coach James Burns said. “Hannah and Hagan (Burns) pitched lights out — both of them. And then they made one mistake on Amber, hung a, I think a curve ball and she hit it out.
“Where we scored the one run, that was the one that impressed me,” he added. “Hagan got a two-out hit and stole second and Bailey got one up the middle. That’s been our Achilles heel all year, getting that two-out hit, and I was impressed with that.”
Burns said he felt good coming into the game after seeing the way his team had practiced the past couple of games.
“We had the best two days of practice, today and yesterday, than we probably had all year,” he said. “Honestly, I thought we were going to come out here and score a lot of runs, but Hannah pitched awesome.”
Hagan Burns did a good job keeping Corbin off-balance at the plate, limiting the Lady Redhounds (19-13) to only four hits with Hart being responsible for three of them.
“Hagan pitched a great game,” Corbin coach Chris Hart said. “I thought Hannah pitched a very good game, too, and we had good defensive play. South Laurel is a very good offensive team and to limit them to only four hits is big.
“The run in the fourth inning hurt and they managed to pull out the win,” he added. “I feel like we just lost to one of the top seven teams in the state and we played them close. I like our chances next week in the region tournament. We just need to come out and continue to play like this.”
Burns likes his team’s chances going into the 13th Region Tournament Monday at North Laurel High School.
“Believe it or not, I’ve got all of the confidence in the world in them,” he said of his players. “They are a good team. I’ve said that all along. We are just strong all the way down. If we get our bottom three (in the line-up) hitting the ball the way they can hit the ball, we’re going to be hard to handle.”
Burns finished the game with six strikeouts and improved to 13-5 on the season while Hart finished with two strikeouts and fell to 18-9.
Members of the 50th District All-Tournament Team were as follows— Alexa Chaffman (Whitley County), Jadon Dopel (Whitley County), Whitney Barnes (Williamsburg), Angel Hinton (Williamsburg), Lindsey Barton (Corbin), Hannah Hart (Corbin), Sydney Reynolds (Corbin), Brittany Vandeventer (South Laurel), Amber Hyde (South Laurel), Megan Smith (South Laurel) and Hagan Burns (South Laurel).