Harlan County coach Tim McElyea is hoping a tough schedule, likely the roughest in school history, will help his Lady Bears make a deep run in the postseason.
The Lady Bears, who played three of the 13th Region’s top teams over the weekend in London, cooled off one of the region’s hottest teams on Thursday, opening their district schedule with a hard-fought 6-4 win over visiting Harlan.
Harlan County’s Destinee Jenkins was victorious over Harlan’s Ashley Overbay in a battle of elite pitchers. Jenkins scattered five hits while striking out nine and walking none.
Overbay gave up six runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Harlan was led on offense by Jesse Cocrahn with two singles. Peyton Bennett, AnnMarie Bianchi, Savannah Smith and Emma Bianchi added one single each.
Lainey Cox led the Lady Bears with a double and two singles. Jenkins had a double and single. Hannah Johnson contributed two singles. Haley Blakley and Kacie Russell added one single each.
Harlan County grabbed an early lead as Jenkins, Cox and Blakley opened the game with singles and Johnson followed with a two-run single.
The Lady Bears pushed their lead to 3-0 in the second inning as Shawnee Cress reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on Jenkins’ double.
Harlan picked up a run in the third inning as Haven Saylor reached base on an error and scored on Cochran’s hit.
The Lady Bears appeared to take control with three runs in the sixth inning. Cress walked, then stole two bases and scored on Jenkins’ squeeze bunt. Cox doubled in a run and scored on Russell’s hit for a 6-1 lead.
Harlan made it tight with three runs in the seventh as AnnMarie Bianchi, Smith and Emma Bianchi had singles. Emma Bianchi drove in her sister and Smith scored on Saylor’s ground out. Overbay reached on an error to bring in the final run before Jenkins ended the threat when she induced a ground ball to Cress at second base.
Harlan County (7-8) plays Belfry on Friday in the Wizard of Ozz Classic at Letcher Central. Harlan (5-5) plays host to Lynn Camp on Friday.
Harlan 001 000 3 — 4 6 3
Harlan County 210 003 x — 6 9 3
Overbay and Cornett; Jenkins and Long. WP — Jenkins. LP — Overbay.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134