The bats were rolling for Middlesboro on Monday when the Lady Jackets squared off against Harlan. Middlesboro rattled off 10 runs in the first two innings of play and went on to defeat the Lady Dragons 15-2 in five innings to advance to the semifinals of the 13th Region All “A” Classic.
“I thought we hit the ball really well. We didn’t waste any time. We got started early, and I’m just so proud of them,” said Middlesboro head coach Luster Powers. “The last two games, they played real well. I’m tickled to death with how they’ve played. If we played the way we did tonight, I think it will be hard for anybody to beat us.”
Madison Shields kept the Harlan batters in check throughout the game. The junior pitcher struck out nine batters. Middlesboro only allowed two hits during the game.
“We’re still learning our jobs. We’ve got people playing positions they’ve never played before,” said Powers. “They did a good job tonight. Everybody was moving on the pitch. Maddy did a good job pitching. We can play when we decide to play.”
On the offensive end, the Lady Jackets tallied 17 hits. Kadi Cordell led the charge going 3-for-3 with three RBI. Freshman Aubrey Sowders added two RBIs while going 2-for-3 with one walk. Senior Bailey Hensley went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
For Harlan, Jesse Cochran and Payton Bennett went 1-for-2 on the night. Bennett finished the game with one RBI.
The Lady Jackets made quick work of the Lady Dragons at the top of the first. After Jayda Young was thrown out at first, Shields struck out Katlyn Burkhart and Ashely Overbay to end Harlan’s at-bat.
Middlesboro went on a rally in the bottom of the first, scoring four runs. Laura Durham got things started with a single. Taylor Moyers followed suite with a single of her own. Lauren Spurlock hit an RBI double into right field that scored Durham. Following an out by Erica Gambrel, Hensley hit an RBI single to bring Moyers home to increase the Jacket lead to 2-0. Hits by Sowders and Cordell gave Middlesboro a 4-0 lead at the end of the first.
Cochran scored Harlan’s first run of the game. Bennett’s RBI single brought Cochran home to cut into the Jacket lead.
Middlesboro responded with six runs in the bottom of the second. Durham got on base with a leadoff double. Shelby Brock, who was the courtesy runner for Durham, scored on a sacrifice fly from Moyers to increase the lead to 5-1.
After a Spurlock walk, Gambrel singled down the third-base line. Hensley brought Spurlock and Gambrel home on an RBI triple, bringing the score to 7-1.
Sowders and Brewer were locked in a battle following the Hensley triple. After 11 pitches, Sowders hit an RBI double to increase the lead to 8-1. The Lady Jackets ended the inning with runs from Sowders and Shields to widen the margin to 10-1.
Harlan managed to score a run at the top of the fourth from Ashley Overbay. Middlesboro went on to score five more runs in the bottom of the fourth to secure the five-inning victory.
Brewer gave up 12 runs in three innings, striking out two and walking three. Overbay gave up three runs in one inning.
Middlesboro (2-1) played at Lynn Camp (4-0) on Tuesday in the semifinals of the 13th Region All A Classic.
Harlan (2-1) travels to Leslie County (3-0) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Harlan* 010* 10* — 2 2 4
Middlesboro* 460* 5x* — 15 9 0
Brewer, Overbay (4) and Jenkins; Shields and Durham. WP — Shields. LP — Brewer (2-1).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN