Mistakes cost the Tri-City All-Stars four unearned runs in the first inning and North Laurel went on to claim a 5-1 win in the winners bracket semifinals in the District 4 Tournament (ages 11-12) at South London.
“Our girls started out really nervous,” said Tri-City coach Merrill Galloway. “We can’t take away anything from North Laurel, and we must give credit where credit is due. However, we left nine runners on base throughout the game and did not capitalize on the opportunities. Once Emily Collett made the changes on the mound and with a strong defense we played some good softball. The first inning, our girls made some mental mistakes and some errant throws that allowed North to take a 4-1 lead. After the first inning, both teams played extremely well.”
Brandy Adams led the Tri-City offense with one double and one single. Madison Bailey had an infield hit on a bunt.
“The bottom line is our girls did not hit like they are capable of hitting and just let nerves get the best of them,” Galloway said. “Now we are getting ready for Hazard, and I hope the girls leave it on the field and come out playing.”
“I’m very glad our defense came to play,” said North Laurel coach Recil Jones, who praised the pitching and defensive efforts of his team who had previously played high scoring offensive games. Jones pointed out the old saying that “defense wins championships.”
Tri-City started off at bat in the top of the first. After being walked to first base then stealing second and third, Bailey was able to score after a botched connection between the North Laurel pitcher and catcher.
Gracie Jervis led things off for North at the bottom of the first with a triple, and scored shortly after a single from Morgan Vaughn. Kinley Jarvis doubled home Vaughn and Haven Houston. Jarvis scored after a single from Taylor Jones.
North showed off its stellar pitching game in the top of the second as pitcher Daria Casey was able to record three straight strikeouts before Tri-City could mount any significant offense.
Unfortunately for North, Tri-City was just as stingy on defense, as two caught pop-ups and a strikeout quickly sent North back to the field.
More of the same occurred in the third inning. Tri-City was able to score a single, but nothing else really connected on offense. North’s luck wasn’t much better.
The fourth inning saw Casey throwing more strikeouts at the Tri-City offense, which was sent back to the field after only three attempts at bat.
Offensive momentum finally reemerged for North at the bottom of the fourth as a single from Jones allowed Houston to make it 5-1 for her team. This would be the final time either team scored in the game.
Tri-City couldn’t get the same offensive momentum going in their favor during the top of the fifth, as another strikeout from Casey and two outs at first base quickly ended the inning.
Tri-City returned the defensive favor however with a double play to end the fifth.
North only had to keep Tri-City from scoring in the top of the sixth in order to claim victory, and two more strikeouts, including one that ended the game, and a caught pop-up did just that. North Laurel will now advance to play Corbin in the winners bracket finals tonight at 6 p.m.
“They’ll be a challenge for us,” said Jones on his upcoming showdown with the Corbin All-Stars.