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Lady Hawks back on track with win over John Hardin

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LaRue finds lesson in loss to Fort Knox

By Kassie Stanfill

In any sport, is there such a thing as a good loss? The Lady Hawks suffered a loss to Fort Knox, a team they beat 16-3 earlier in the year, 6-5 on Tuesday night. After the game, the players sat in shock, tears streamed from most of the players’  eyes, the coaching staff stood speechless, as Fort Knox had a well-deserved celebration on Lady Hawk field.

So if any loss is a good loss, this game seemed to get the Lady Hawks’ attention. Coach DiStefano stated, “You never like to lose, but we needed to get the focus again on softball and trust me, this game did it. I’m not taking anything away from Coach Thompson and Fort Knox, they wanted this game and played a great game. Our concentration was not there and it showed on defense as we made three errors in the seventh inning with a 5-2 lead and base running mistakes killed us. When our pitchers give our infield routine ground balls, the plays have to be made. “

Fort Knox struck first with a run in the top of the first, but the Lady Hawks answered with two runs in the second when Brittany Enlow reached on a single, and courtesy runner Emily Boone, running for Enlow, scored on a RBI single by Peyton Gardner. The Lady Hawks struck again in the fourth when Gardner reached base on a fielder’s choice, and was hit in on a RBI single by Megan Smith. In the fifth, Erin Boley and Brigitte Skaggs each scored to extend the lead to 5-2. Fort Knox then took advantage of three costly defensive errors in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead, and hold on for the victory.

What would the next day bring for the Lady Hawks? Could they get their A game back or would they continue this three-game slide?

“Honestly, 5:30 couldn’t get here quick enough for me – I just wanted to get the girls back on the field and get the Fort Knox game out of their heads. I had to laugh when I looked at the scorebook and one of the girls wrote ‘this game never happened’ on the Fort Knox line score. Fortunately, we were ready to go,” Coach DiStefano added.

The girls came out ready to play against John Hardin as they scored three runs in the first and added two more in the second to take an early 5-0 lead.  Valerie Whitlock, Lyndsay Whitlock, Peyton Gardner and Courtney Johnson led the team with two hits apiece. Amelia Miller returned to the mound after suffering a hand injury to gain the win for the visiting Lady Hawks. Miller held the Lady Bulldogs in check as she allowed five hits and six strikeouts.

Friday night, the team took on 5th region rival Elizabethtown at Lady Panther field. The Lady Hawks took an early lead in the first inning on their way to an 11-4 victory. Back-to-back singles by the Whitlock twins put early pressure on the Lady Panthers and a wild pitch and a RBI single by Brigitte Skaggs gave the Hawks the early 2-0 lead, and they never looked back.

In the third, Lyndsay Whitlock reached base and scored on a RBI single by Enlow. Enlow was the winning pitcher holding E’town to five hits and collecting five strikeouts.

Designated Player Skaggs continued to have the hot bat, as she added two more RBIs in the fifth and seventh inning by scoring Boley and courtesy runner Emily Boone, who was running for catcher Ellen Huff.  The Lady Hawks added four doubles in the game as Huff, Gardner, Skaggs and Miller all reached second safely to close out the game 11-4.

The Lady Hawks have a tough week as they visited State powerhouse Greenwood on Monday and 17th district favorites North Hardin and Central Hardin before closing the regular season at home on Thursday against Russell County. The Lady Hawks open 18th District play on Monday, May 24 against the Hart County Lady Raiders at Green County. The winner will advance to the 5th Region tournament to be played at Central Hardin High School beginning May 31.