The victory gives the Lady Jackets the two seed for the 52nd District tournament.
Megan Prater had three hits and scored three runs for Middlesboro while Kelsie Hensley had a pair of singles, Taylor Powers singled and doubled, Carissa Padgett tripled and Shae Moyers also had a hit.
Freshman Jessica Carter filled in admirably in the pitcher’s circle. Only five of the eight Lady Bear runs were earned on 12 hits, Carter struck out three and walked one.
The Lady Bears were led by Bridget Robinson and Jesse Johnson with three hits and four RBI each. One of Johnson’s hits was a double. Katie Johnson and Bethany Bellofatto each had two hits while Megan Ramsey and Savannah Sergent also had singles.
Katie Johnson took the loss for Harlan County. She allowed four earned runs on nine hits while striking out four, walking one and hitting a batter.
After Carter pitched around an error in the top of the first, Middlesboro jumped on top with four runs in the bottom of the frame.
Prater and Hensley both reached on bunt singles to start the inning and one out later Savannah Miracle reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to load the bases. Moyers then reached on an error as two runs scored and Miracle later came home on a passed ball. Taylor Powers capped the scoring with an RBI single.
Harlan County answered back with four runs of their own in the top of the second. Sergent and Bellofatto singled and Jesse Johnson belted a two-run double. One out later Brianna Bowman reached on an error and Katie Johnson’s ground out moved the runners to second and third. Katelyn Stittums walked and Robinson singled to bring in Johnson and Bowman and tie the game at four.
It was still 4-all when the Lady Jackets put up five in the third.
Moyers singled, Powers doubled and they both came around to score as Makayla Partin reached on an error. One out later Ashlee Yowell walked and Prater slapped an RBI singled to right. The ball was misplayed in the outfield as Yowell also scored and Prater advanced all the way to third. Hensley followed with an RBI single to make it 9-4.
Harlan County got two runs back in the fifth as Ramsey singled, Sergent reached on an error and Bellofatto singled to load the bases. Johnson singled in two more runs to cut the Lady Jacket lead to 9-6.
Middlesboro got three big insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Prater beat out a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. After a passed ball, Hensley’s fielder’s choice grounder scored Prater. Padgett followed with an RBI triple to the left field fence and then scored on a passed ball for a 12-6 Lady Jacket advantage.
The Lady Bears threatened in the seventh. Jesse Johnson singled, Chynna Harris then hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. With two out, Katie Johnson singled and Stittums reached on an error to load the bases for Robinson. Robinson singled in two more runs, but Yowell snagged Ramsey’s liner to second to end the game.
Harlan County (12-9, 2-4 in district play) plays Magoffin County Thursday at Hazard in the Mountain Sports Classic. Middlesboro (12-16, 3-2) plays at Harlan Thursday and will host Pineville Friday.
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Harlan Co. 040 020 2 — 8 12 5
Middlesboro 405 003 x — 12 9 5
KJohnson and Robinson; Carter and Hensley. W— Carter. L—KJohnson.