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 two but walked no one 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
Harlan000 000 0 — 0 3 4
Jenkins and Robinson; Brewer, Noe (4) and Jenkins. WP — Jenkins (8-4). LP — Brewer (0-3).
The Middlesboro Lady Jackets scored four runs over the final three innings to pull out a wild 8-7 win over Harlan on Friday. The Lady Jackets overcame eight errors in the game and and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to some heady base running by Makayla Partin.
Partin led off of the seventh by drawing a walk and was able to steal second without a throw by getting a quick read on a pitch in the dirt. Destiny Ford put down a sacrifice bunt attempt, but the throw to to first hit her in the helmet and skipped into right field as Partin scored without a throw on the play.
“I’ve preached to them and preached to them that smart base running wins ballgames and it showed right there,” Lady Jacket coach Luster Powers said. “(Partin) does a good job on the bases and she did it again there. Destiny also did her job getting a good bunt down.”
Middlesboro jumped on to early as Bailey Hensley reached on a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the first and Laura Durham reached on an infield single. Lauren Spurlock’s fielder’s choice grounder put runners at the corners and Spurlock was able to steal second. Madison Shields followed with a two-run single through he right side.
Harlan took advantage of four Lady Jacket errors in the top of the second inning to score four runs of their own. All the damage came with two outs as Shanae Thomas drew a walk and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Alyssa Mills then sent a high fly ball to right but Shields lost it in the sun and dropped it as Thomas scored and Mills went all the way to third on the error. Katie King had a single and Madison Noe doubled around three more MHS errors in the inning as the Lady Dragons went up 4-2.
Durham’s two-run single scored Partin and Hensley to tie the game at four in the bottom of the second.
But Harlan scored two more unearned runs off three Middlesboro errors in the third and they led it 6-4.
Kaylee McNeil led off the top of the fifth with a base hit for the Lady Dragons, Thomas reached on an error and Mills singled to push the lead to 7-4
The Lady Jackets rallied. Tiffany Howerton singled to bring in Morgan Thompson in the bottom of the fifth and Howerton scored when Partin reached on an error. The Lady Dragons struggled to get control of the loose ball and Partin broke for home with the tying run, but was thrown out as the score remained 7-6.
“Sometimes I get a little overaggressive with a runner at third base and it almost cost us tonight, but they came through and saved me again,” Powers said.
Middlesboro loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on a Durham single, a double from Spurlock and a fielder’s choice grounder from Shields. Noe got a pair of strikeouts, but then Durham was able to score the tying run on a passed ball.
Shields relieved Jessica Carter during the fifth inning and shut out Harlan the rest of the way, setting the stage for the dramatic seventh inning.
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|Madison Noe and Robinson; Jessica Carter, Madison Shields (5) and Laura Durham. W — Shileds. L — Noe (2-3).|