Lady Hawks knocked out of 18th District Tournament

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Streak ends after 12 years

By Kassie Stanfill

For the first time since 1997, the 5th Region Tournament was played without the LaRue County Lady Hawks in its field.

A very determined Lady Raider team from Hart County stood in the Lady Hawks’ way of making the tournament for the 13th straight year, as the Lady Hawks fell 9-4 in the first round of the 18th District Tournament in Greensburg May 24.

Errors early and often seemed to be the story for the Lady Hawks. To add to the defensive problems, the offensive power left the bats as well, as the Lady Hawks could not get the timely hits they needed.

“Hart County was ready for us and we let ourselves down,” said Head Coach Mielle DiStefano. “Players have to shake off errors or strikeouts. The mental part has been a problem for us all year long, that’s something you can’t coach.  All Coach Stanfill and I can do is tell them to keep playing. We wouldn’t leave them in the game if we didn’t believe in them. You can’t get scared, if you do then you make more mistakes. We have played like that in games where we get behind it is just something the girls are going to have to fight through next year.”

The Lady Raiders opened the game by monopolizing on two straight errors by the Lady Hawks’ infield before pitcher Amelia Miller struck out two batters. A third infield error brought in two runs.  

The Lady Hawks pulled within 2-1 when Erin Boley reached base on a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Ellen Huff’s single to left centerfield.  The Lady Raiders scored two more in the fourth inning off two more infield errors, bringing the score to 4-1. The Lady Hawks clawed their way back to make it 4-3 after four innings. Huff reached base on an error and courtesy runner Cassady Crim came in the game. Crim moved to second and third on two wild pitches and scored on a single by Peyton Gardner. Gardner moved to second on the throw home, then reached third on a wild pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Brittany Enlow.

The Lady Raiders’ offense scored five runs in the sixth and seventh innings to cruise to a 9-4 victory as the Lady Hawks continued to commit errors.  

“Anytime you get down in late innings, this makes your offense tense, and we started swinging at pitches we don’t normally swing at,” said DiStefano. “That showed we were nervous at the end. Not to make an excuse, but this was a first District for a lot of the players and it certainly was a tournament atmosphere and the opposing crowd felt the upset coming. But I have to give the credit to Hart County, they made some pretty outstanding catches in the infield and outfield that just stopped any hope of a late rally.”

Though the team did not advance to the region, a goal they set for themselves, this was definitely an outstanding year for the Lady Hawks. Boley was named to the 18th District All-Tournament team for her two-hit, two-run performance. The Lady Hawks finished the season with an 18-16 record, improving from 9-17 in 2009.  The team overcame several key injuries and each player stepped up to play an important role on this team.

“Though it did not end where we wanted to, we had a great season,” said DiStefano. “We have so much to be proud of. I coach a great group of young ladies. Now the work for next year has to begin for each of them. Those that do not play another sport need to play as much softball as they can this off-season. I also encourage them to play soccer, volleyball or cross country when school starts. These sports can help in all areas, mentally and physically. I would advise them to attend camps .... The sky’s the limit for this group of girls. If they do not belong to a travel team, they need to find one and keep playing.”