Scoring runs has been a season-long problem for the Whitley County Lady Colonels, who had been shut out six times and scored only 19 runs in their 1-9 start going into Thursday’s game at Harlan County.
The Lady Bears were happy to provide a lesson in offense, pounding out 19 hits to help Destinee Jenkins overcame a rare off night in a 13-7 victory.
“I said before that sometimes we’d have to outslug people,” Harlan County coach Tim McElyea said. “Whitley’s record isn’t the greatest, but they’ve played North (Laurel), South (Laurel) and Southwestern, so they’ve played some tough teams. I told the girls that they’ve seen some good arms.”
Kaitlyn Stittums led the HCHS hit parade with four singles in five at bats. Farren Clark was a homer short of the cycle with three hits. Jenkins added a triple and two singles. Tia King had a triple and a single. Mallory Johnson singled three times and Bridget Robinson singled twice. Chyanna Harris and Jessie Johnson each singled once.
“We came out hitting, then had a little lull in the middle. It was one of those slugfest games,” McElyea said. “We bunted well tonight, and Whitley hit a little better than I thought they would. We battled and won a slugfest.”
Paolo Castro had a double and three singles to lead Whitley’s 12-hit attack. Lauren Elliott added a double and two singles. Alexa Chaffman, Rachel McKiddy, Morgan McIntosh, Codie Thacker and Rachel Prewitt added one single each.
“It was encouraging. We hit better tonight,” Whitley County coach Amanda Moses said. “I made a very difficult schedule and we’ve played some very good teams. I just want them to improve every game. We took some hard hits last night, but we bounced back and did better tonight.”
The Lady Bears set the tone for a game dominated by offense on the first pitch as Stittums beat out a bunt single. After stealing second, Stittums raced home on Clark’s line-drive single up the middle. Sergent continued the merry go round with an RBI double. Robinson’s two-out hit pushed the lead to 3-0.
Whitley picked up a run in the second inning with the help of HCHS mistakes. McIntosh walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, third on a passed ball and scored on an errant throw.
Harlan County answered in the bottom of the inning as Jessie Johnson was safe on an error and scored on Clark’s two-out double.
Elliott singled for the Lady Colonels in the third and scored on a two-out hit by McKiddy.
King and Jenkins each ripped triples to right field to open the bottom of the third. Courtesy runner Katie Robinson scored on a passed ball for a 6-2 lead, but the Lady Bears wasted a potential big inning by failing to execute on a couple of squeeze attempts, leading to Harris being thrown out at third base.
Castro’s RBI double cut the deficit back to three in the fourth inning. Thacker opened the inning by reaching base on an error. A nice catch in left field by Mallory Johnson with two runners on helped Jenkins escape further trouble.
Whitley pulled within one in the fifth inning as Chaffman led off with a single, moved to second on McKiddy’s ground out and scored on McIntosh’s hit. Thacker followed with an RBI ground out.
The Lady Bears gave Jenkins some breathing room with a four-run fifth as Mallory Johnson had a two-run single and Clark added a two-out, two-run triple down the line in left. Jenkins, Robinson and Stittums also had hits in the inning
Whitley got two runs back in the sixth inning on a rare two-run sacrifice fly hit by Chaffman. King fell while running backwards in deep right after making the catch and both Prewitt and Elliott were able to score. Prewitt opened the inning with a walk and Elliott singled.
King and Jenkins each singled to open the bottom of the sixth. Mallory Johnson’s bunt single on a squeeze play brought in one run. Jessie Johnson’s single brought in two.
Harlan County (12-4) travels to Corbin on Monday, Bell County on Tuesday and Leslie County on Wednesday.
Whitley County 011 122 0 — 7 12 1
Harlan County 312 043 x — 13 19 1
Thacker and McIntosh; Jenkins and Robinson. WP — Jenkins (12-4). LP — Thacker.
Harlan County 12, Hazard 3
Destinee Jenkins had four hits, then same amount she gave up on the mound, as Harlan County rode a 20-hit attack to the win at Hazard on Wednesday.
Kaitlyn Stittums, Farren Clark, Tia King, Bridget Robinson, Chyanna Harris and Mallory Johnson each added two hits for the 11-4 Lady Bears. Savannah Sergent, Haley Blakley, Amber Creech and Jessie Johnson contributed one hit each.
Jenkins pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and two walks.
Sparkman, Griffie, Maggard and Fugate had one hit each for Hazard.
Harlan County003 602 1 — 12 20 1
Hazard020 000 1 — 3 4 3
Jenkins and Robinson; Killburn and Robinson. WP — Jenkins (11-4). LP — Kilburn.