By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Every once in a while in high school sports, there’s a team that stands out against the competition in one aspect of the game or another.
For the South Laurel Lady Cardinals, this season is that once in a while.
So far this season, James Burns’ squad has amassed a 19-5 record, with just two losses to in-state teams (1-0 to Scott County and 3-2 against Boyle County). While the talent of his squad is the main reason for this season’s success, Burns said the fact his team has fun and plays for each other is another reason.
“This group gets along really well and they play well together,” Burns said. “A lot of times you have kids that want to play for themselves, but this group of girls play for each other and you can tell when you’re around them.”
When it comes to offense, there’s been no shortage at South Laurel. The Lady Cardinals are scoring at a rate of 7.6 runs per game, while allowing just 2.4 on the defensive side of the ball.
As a team, the Lady Cardinals have a .363 average, with a combined 20 home runs on the season. While Brittany Vandeventer’s .500 average leads the way in that category, Amber Hyde has paced the squad in long balls and RBIs with 10 and 34, respectively.
If offensive numbers aren’t enough to impress, South Laurel’s pitchers have pulled their weight as well. Hagan Burns and Megan Smith have gotten all but one start this season, with Burns tallying a 9-4 mark and Smith’s standing at 10-1. Burns gets the nod when it comes to ERA and strikeouts with 0.89 and 69, while Smith comes in with an ERA of 2.82 and 48 strikeouts on the season.
Prior to last week’s extra-inning loss to Boyle County on the road, South Laurel had won 13 straight dating back to an April 9, with wins over Harrison County, Madison Central, Rowan County, Lincoln County and North Laurel highlighting the streak.
After the loss to the Lady Rebels, Burns said he expected his team to come out and play well the following night. He was right as it picked up a 10-2 win over McCreary Central.
“I knew after that loss the girls would respond, because they don’t like to lose,” Burns said. “I was interested to see how they were going to respond, but I didn’t really let them know. I had an idea of how they would play though.
“With this team we really let them play and have fun, because that’s really what it’s all about – having fun,” he added. “Of course, the second part of that speech is that it’s a lot more fun when you’re winning, so that’s how we look at it.”
As the regular season begins to wind down, Burns isn’t about to let the team sit back and collect wins just to build an impressive record. He said playing the best competition possible is the only way to improve and be ready for postseason play.
“I really loaded the schedule up because I wanted our kids to be playing their best at the end of the season,” Burns said. “You want your kids to go into postseason play at the top of their game and by playing a tough schedule, I feel like we have a better chance of doing that.”
Lady Cardinals continue to play well en route to postseason
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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