The Harlan County Lady Bears have been as hot as any team in the 13th Region over the past two weeks, winning six out of their last seven. The sixth win came Thursday, as the Lady Bears defeated 52nd District foe Middlesboro for the second time in six days. Down to their final out, Bridget Robinson came through with a two-run single in the seventh to lift Harlan County to a 6-3 victory over the host Lady Jackets.
“With the coaching change, it took a little while for everybody to get used to me and for me to get used to them,” said Harlan County coach Tim McElyea. “We are starting to gel. Coach (Howard) White left a good team. I just hope we can continue to improve. That is all we want to do, and I think we are doing that.”
Harlan County opened the scoring with a run in the fifth inning.
Chyanna Harris singled to reach base. She advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single from Katie Johnson.
Middlesboro tied the game with a run in the bottom of the inning, before Harlan County regained the lead in the sixth.
Farren Clark singled to reach base. She advanced on a single from Robinson. Clark stole third and later scored on an RBI groundout by Sarah Evans.
Middlesboro took a 3-2 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Lady Bears responded once again. Harlan County rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to pick up the big district win.
Harris, Kaitlyn Stittums and Johnson all singled to load the bases. The Lady Bears were down to their final out of the inning and the game when Robinson singled to drive in the first two runs of the inning. Evans followed with a single of her own to score a run and make it 5-4. Tia King then delivered a double to drive in a run and close the scoring.
“We were down to our last out,” McElyea said. “Robinson has been hot. Tonight she was three-for-four. She hit a good sharp line drive in between short and third. Once that happened Middlesboro became unglued.”
Johnson was stellar on the mound. The senior recorded eight strikoeouts, while allowing just four hits and issuing one walk in the complete-game victory on the mound.
“(Katie) has been struggling with shin splints lately, but she is starting to come around a little bit,” said McElyea. “We have been trying to rest her here and there. Tonight she looked back to her original self and not in as much pain. She really bares down when you need it.”
Johnson helped herself out at the plate with a pair of singles. She was joined by Stittums, Robinson, Evans and Harris with two singles each. King contributed a double, and Clark added a single.
Harlan County (9-8 overall, 2-2 district) will travel to Middlesboro today. Middlesboro (12-4 overall, 3-1 district) will host Clay County on Tuesday.
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Harlan County 000 011 4 — 6 12 2
Middlesboro 000 012 0 — 3 4 2
K. Johnson and Robinson; Carter and Spurlock (5), Partin (6) and Durham. WP — Johnson. LP — Partin.