By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
NORTH LAUREL — Both North Laurel and Somerset struggled at the plate for six innings, but that didn’t mean the two teams weren’t going to provide some fireworks during the game’s final inning of play Thursday.
The Lady Jaguars (20-11-1) took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning, but the Lady Briar Jumpers responded in a big way by taking advantage of three walks and two fielding miscues, as Amanda Haynes’ three-run homer sealed a 5-2 win for her team.
North Laurel tried to rally in the bottom half of the inning, but could push across only one run, as Megan Baldwin popped up with the bases loaded to end game.
North Laurel assistant coach Rogers Strong was hoping the Lady Jaguars could finish the regular season off strong, but the five-run seventh inning has raised some concerns.
“We just have things we’ve got to work out and we’ve got a short time to work them out,” he said.
North Laurel entered the season with a top five ranking in the state, but has struggled to put anything together the past couple of weeks.
“We’ve got a lot of issues to handle,” Strong added. “If we’re going to be the kind of team to finish strong in the post-season, we’ve got to do those things to take care of business or it’s going to be a short trip.”
Both teams struggled to put anything together until the bottom of the sixth inning when freshman Kailin Yantz reached base on an error and was eventually driven in by Blake Johnson’s single, giving North Laurel a 1-0 cushion.
The Lady Jaguars turned out to be their own worst enemy in the seventh inning, as Baldwin walked three batters to load the bases while Somerset’s first run came after Kirschten Roberts hit into a fielder’s choice to Yantz, which tied the game at one apiece.
The Lady Briar Jumpers’ second run came via a foul ball caught by left fielder Makenzie Mills, but Haynes delivered the big hit in the game, a three-run blast over the center field fence.
“If she charges, going home is OK, but if you lay back you’ve got to take the out,” Strong said of the fielder’s choice hit to Yantz. “They’ve played a lot, but you’ve got to remember they are freshmen. I can’t criticize them because Yantz has played lights-out all year and she gives 100 percent.
“The play in left was a difficult decision to make,” he added. “She’s played center field and right (field) and in the heat of the game and it’s kind of a hard decision not to go get it.”
Strong said Somerset pitcher Lauren Rice kept his team off-balanced by keeping the ball off the plate.
“We didn’t do what we’ve been taught to do,” he said.
Somerset rallies to score five runs in the top of the seventh to beat North Laurel
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
- 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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