With strong performances at the plate, on the mound and in the field, the Harlan County Lady Bears ran their district record to 2-0 by coasting to a 10-0 win Saturday afternoon at Harlan.
Eighth-grader Destinee Jenkins tossed her third shutout of the season with a three-hitter. Jenkins struck out only one but walked none as she faced only five batters over the minimum.
“I know she’s only an eighth-grader, but she plays like she’s 5-10,” Harlan County coach Tim McElyea said. “She pitches with confidence and throws strikes.”
The Harlan County defense provided plenty of support with a flawless performance until Chyanna Harris was unable to get in front of a bad-bounce grounder hit by Alyssa Mills with two outs in the seventh inning.
“I told them before the game we had to do three things to win — play good defense, run the bases well and bunt well. I thought we did all three,” McElyea said.
The Lady Dragons, coming off a heart-breaking 8-7 loss a night earlier, had trouble hitting the ball hard against Jenkins as HCHS recorded 17 outs in the infield.
“We didn’t hit the ball like we can,” said Harlan coach Scott Lewis. “The last couple of games we’ve faced faster pitching. We hit the ball tremendously well last night at Middlesboro. We didn’t adjust very well today and hit the ball off the ends of our bat a lot. Harlan County was ready to play and made all the plays. We made it a little easier though, because we didn’t hit it very hard.”
Madison Noe, Kaylee McNiel and Mills each had singles for Harlan.
Savannah Sergent and Chyanna Harris each had a pair of doubles to lead the Lady Bears. Farren Clark and Jessie Johnson added two single each. Kaitlynn Stittums, Tia King, Jenkins and Mallory Johnson added one single each.
King singled home a run in the first and another come home on an error on the play as the Lady Bears took an early 2-0 lead.
Madison Brewer, the Harlan starter, shut down the HCHS offense until the fourth inning, when the Lady Bears took control with a five-run outburst. Harris led off with a double, moved to third on Mallory Johnson’s bunt single and scored on a wild pitch. Jessie Johnson singled and Stittums was safe on an error to load the bases, knocking out Brewer. Clark’s two-run single to left greeted Noe and pushed the lead to 5-0. Sergent drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder to third. Robinson’s sacrifice fly closed the scoring in the inning.
Sergent led off the sixth inning with a double and scored on an error. Robinson scored on Harris’ second double.
Harlan County added one more run in the seventh as Jessie Johnson singled and scored on Sergent’s two-out double.
Harlan (2-5) travels to Cumberland Gap, Tenn., on Monday, while Harlan County (8-4) returns to action Tuesday with a district showdown at Middlesboro.
Harlan County200 502 1 — 10 12 1
Harlan 000 000 0 — 0 3 4
Jenkins and Robinson; Brewer, Noe (4) and Jenkins. WP — Jenkins (8-4). LP — Brewer (0-3).