The Harlan County Lady Bears downed Harlan 7-3 on Thursday to close out the district slate with four straight wins and earn the second seed in the upcoming 52nd District Tournament.
“This is when you want to start peaking, and hopefully we are starting to do that,” said Harlan County coach Tim McElyea.
Harlan County opened the scoring with a run in the first inning, and the Lady Bears never trailed the rest of the way.
Kaitlyn Stittums led off the first inning with a single just over third base. Stittums stole second base and scored on a double from Savannah Sergent.
The Lady Bears tacked on two more runs in the second inning.
Farren Clark started the inning with a walk. Chyanna Harris followed with a single up the middle. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Clark scored on a Jessie Johnson fielder’s choice. Katie Johnson drove in Harris with a single to center field.
Harlan closed the gap to 3-1 with a run in the third inning.
Alyssa Mills led off with a double to right field. Kaitlyn Jenkins reached on an error. Anna Karst drove in the run with a single.
Harlan County took control with a three-run fourth inning.
Harris hit a leadoff single to right field. Stittums then singled to left field. Katie Johnson drove in both runners with a double to center field. Courtesy runner Destinee Jenkins scored on a single by Tia King.
The Lady Dragons answered with a run in the bottom of the inning.
Heather Holland singled to left field to leadoff the inning. Holland advanced to second on a wild pitch. She later scored on a throwing error to first base.
The Lady Dragons made it 6-3 with another run in the fifth inning.
Noe reached base first with a double to left field. Two batters later, Amanda Longworth drove in the run with a single to right field.
Harlan County closed the scoring with a run in the seventh inning.
Bridget Robinson started the offense with a single to center field. She later scored when Jessie Johnson singled to right field.
“We hit it in spots, but we are still a little hesitant at the plate with runners on the bases,” said McElyea. “We got seven runs, but we left runners on. That is something we have to work on.”
Katie Johnson delivered a triple, a double and a single to power Harlan County at the plate. King recorded a double and a single. Stittums and Harris each singled twice. Sergent contributed a double, while Robinson, Sarah Evans and Jessie Johnson each added a single.
Karst had a pair of singles for the Lady Dragons. Noe and Mills each had a double, while Holland added a single.
“We just weren’t hitting the ball tonight compared to the way we had been,” said Harlan coach Scott Lewis. “We haven’t got to the point where we have crossed the hump in those big situations.”
Katie Johnson was stellar on the mound in the complete-game victory. The senior struck out seven batters, while allowing five hits to earn the win.
“We have had some time to rest Katie, and she is starting to get healthy at the right time,” McElyea said. “She was moving it around pretty good tonight. Coach (Marcus) Johnson calls the pitches and he did a good job.”
Brewer recorded five strikeouts in a complete-game effort for the Lady Dragons. Brewer allowed 13 hits and three walks.
Harlan (13-13 overall, 1-5 district) will host returns to action today at home against Whitley County. Harlan County (13-11 overall, 4-2 district) will face Clay County on Saturday at Perry Central.
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Harlan Co. 120 300 1 — 7 13 3
Harlan 001 110 0 — 3 5 2
K. Johnson and Robinson; Brewer and Jenkins. WP — K. Johnson. LP — Brewer.