NORTH LAUREL — North Laurel coach Kyle Mink has stressed the entire season just how important winning his team’s respective district games, and his players took it to heart.
The Lady Jaguars pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of three errors to knock off Clay County, 12-7.
The win turned out to be North Laurel’s eighth during its last nine games, as the Lady Jaguars improved to 13-7 on the season.
“There are three games we circled on our regular season schedule this season, and it’s Oneida Baptist, this one (against Clay County) and Jackson County, and we managed to improve to 2-0 by winning tonight,” Mink said. “I thought we were able to come out and take care of business and score on them early.
“We hit the ball really well, and made enough plays to win,” he added. “The big thing is that we battled. I believe we got a bit comfortable after scoring early against them, but hey, they battled, too. They’ve got a good team.”
After seeing both teams go scoreless in the first inning, North Laurel took advantage of two errors to score three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Kayla Huff drove in a run with a single while Shani Collins grounded out to score a run. Kaitlin Yantz’s fifth triple of the season scored Huff to give the Lady Jaguars a 3-0 lead.
Clay County answered with two runs in the top of the third inning, as eighth grader Brianda Owens came up with the big hit — a run-scoring double.
But just when it looked as if the Lady Tigers were going to get back into the game, Mink’s squad put the pedal to the medal, and scored two runs in the bottom of the third inning while adding three more in the bottom of the fourth, one in the fifth inning and four in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 12-4 edge into the seventh inning.
Clay County scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning, but the damage had already been done.
Mikayla Vires picked up the win on the hill, finishing the game with six strikeouts while eighth-grader Becca Riley led North Laurel with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate along with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Olivia Miller had a double, two runs scored and two RBI while Abbey Proffitt had two hits, two runs scored, a double and an RBI. Yantz finished the game with two hits, a run scored, a triple and an RBI.
The Lady Jaguars will be back in action Thursday on the road against Somerset.