By Les Dixon / Staff Writer
Spring break allowed some Laurel County high school softball and baseball teams to travel out of state this past week while others elected to stay in state and now this week, teams such as Corbin’s baseball and softball teams have hit the road that leads out of Kentucky along with Whitley County’s baseball teams.
Once they return, things should get interesting next week with some important district games on the slate.
Player of the Week
Makenzie Powenski, South Laurel — She might be an eighth-grader, but Powenski has already established herself as one of the front-runners for the Times-Tribune Softball Player of the Year award. She went 8-for-11 at the plate last week while delivering three doubles, three RBI, five runs scored and a stolen base. She leads the Lady Cardinals with a .541 batting average while compiling an impressive .571 on-base percentage and an .865 slugging percentage. She’s also had three three-hit games so far this season. Not too bad for an eighth-grader.
Middlesboro continues to shine
The Lady Yellow Jackets pulled out an impressive 1-0 win in nine innings over Pineville, a team they beat just a couple of weeks ago to capture the 13th Region Classic All ‘A’ Tournament. Freshman Madison Shields connected with a single and was driven in by Jessica Carter.
Speaking of Shields, she moved back from Knoxville, Tenn., and has established herself as one of the best pitchers in the region. The hard throwing righty allowed only four hits and struck out 13 batters during Middlesboro’s victory over the Lady Mountain Lions.
The season is still young, but the Corbin Lady Redhounds will have to improve on defense if they’re going to make a run for their first-ever 13th Region championship. The Lady Redhounds entered as the pre-season favorite in the 13th Region, but errors have led to a disappointing 4-9 start.Corbin has committed 56 errors in 13 games this season, that’s close to 4.5 a game. Like I said, if the Lady Redhounds are going to make a run at the region crown, they’ve got to improve defensively.
Big match-up today
The region’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams will square-off today at North Laurel High School, as the Lady Jaguars will face No. 20 ranked South Laurel.
The Lady Cardinals are the defending 13th Region champs and come into the game with a 13th Region-best 12-1 record while North Laurel is coming off an impressive 2-2 trip that saw the Lady Jaguars post a 2-2 mark against some of Alabama’s top teams.
This will be an interesting game. Both teams are young, as both North and South Laurel have eighth- graders in the starting line-up, but one spot where the Lady Cardinals do have experience is on the mound with senior Hagan Burns.
Burns has been dominating this season, posting an 11-1 record with an impressive 0.66 ERA. She has struck out 72 batters
Player of the Week
Jared Partin, Whitley County — Partin is now 5-0 on the season after pitching the Colonels past Lynn Camp this past week.
Bell County’s Austin North pitched a seven inning, five hit shut out during the Bobcats’ 5-0 52nd District win over Harlan. After starting the season with three straight losses, Bell County is 7-2 during its past nine games.
Short coming up big
Whitley County’s Ryan Short has put up some impressive numbers this past week, going 5-for-9 at the plate while driving in five runs, as the Colonels are now 11-2 on the season.