If the past two seasons are any indication, Harlan County has the Bell County Lady Cats right were they want them. The Lady Bears are 0-6 against Bell County in district play in the last three seasons, but each of the previous two years have ended with a victory over the Lady Cats in the district championship.
To accomplish that feat again this season, the Lady Bears are going to have to make up a lot of ground as visiting Bell County dominated Thursday’s district contest in the form of a 14-0 victory over HC.
“We talked about that after the game, but I don’t know if this team has that kind of fire in their furnace. If we don’t find that fire it’s not going to make any difference,” said Harlan County coach Howard White.
Bell County ‘s Rachel Yeary turned in a perfect performance on the mound. The senior pitcher struck out five batters and didn’t allow a hit or a walk in the complete-game victory.
“She maintained her focus through the five innings. We have had problems with our defense maintaining focus through the whole game,” said Bell County coach J.W. Campbell.
Bell took the lead with one run in the first inning. The Lady Cats stretched the advantage to five with four runs in the second inning before putting the game away with nine runs in the third inning.
Kristen Slusher and Alex Gambrel each had a pair of doubles to lead Bell at the plate. Kendra Taylor contributed three singles. Yeary recorded a pair of singles, and Jessica Sanders and Hillary Lowe each added a single.
“We can be a good ball club if we focus, but if we don’t we’re not there yet,” Campbell said. “If we play our softball we can compete with anyone. Whether we win or not is to be left on the field.”
Katie Johnson went three innings in the loss for Harlan County. Eighth-grader Megan Ramsey pitched two shutout innings in relief.
The Lady Bears turned in one of their worst defensive performances of the season with seven errors in the contest.
“I am very disappointed. I don’t know how many unearned runs they got, but I know a couple of times the ball never got out of the infield and they scored two runs. When you make seven errors and don’t hit the ball this is what happens to you,” White said. “I give them the credit. They came to play and we didn’t.”
Harlan County (6-5 overall, 1-3 district) returns to action today against Grant County at Whitley County. Bell County (13-5, 3-0) will host Middlesboro on Monday.
Bell County 149 oo - 14 11 0
Harlan County 000 00 - -0 0 7
Yeary and Sanders; Johnson, Ramsey (4) and McLain. WP-Yeary. LP-Johnson (4-3).